The Good Page Blog is written by Barbara Kristaponis, graphic designer and writer/editor. The blog title comes from a well-known quote by Robert Bringhurst, in The Elements of Typographic Style. Bringhurst is a Canadian poet, typographer, translator, cultural historian, and linguist, and the quote reflects my search to recognize and create good pages.
Writing systems vary, but a good page is not hard to recognize, whether it comes from Tang Dynasty China, the Egyptian New Kingdom or Renaissance Italy. The principles that unite these different schools of design are based on the structure and scale of the human body—the eye, the hand, and the forearm in particular—and on the invisible but no less real, no less demanding and no less sensuous anatomy of the human mind.
— Robert Bringhurst
This blog is an attempt to share one or two things I have learned about designing pages that could be useful to writers and editors, with the hope that folks will use pursue the resources to increase their knowledge of how to use page-layout and typography principles in their work. It is written with writers and editors in mind, because so much of my last years of earning-a-living work have been in writing (for medical centers, museums, and educational non-profits). Writers of late have been my most frequent comrades-in-arms.
In my earning-a-living life as a grant writer (7+ years), the deadlines have been so always-pending and the stakeholders so nervous that there was/is often never enough time to do the best work you know you can do, and not too many people want the writing to do more than get the money in.
I always want the writing to do more, and part of that more—the good page—has to do with how the page looks. This includes the layout of elements, choice of photographs, typography … So, for those who write for a living and often only have a little time to think about the layout and typography of a page, this blog is a place to drop in and pick up a few things to think about, with resources and other people to search out—there is some great designer writing out there. I am only the tracker to a longer road of wonderful stuff in the world today to look at and to read.
The blog is written from the perspective of someone who designs and writes pages every day now, but that was not always the case.
I’ve worked as a city high school history teacher and after-school 8mm filmmaking teacher, secretary, waitress, funded video artist, television camerawoman and director of photography, offline and online CMX video editor and teacher to the film unions, adjunct professor in video production, director of a psychiatric video recording center for training of residents, patient-support-and-advocacy group leader, medical editor, grant writer, and graphic designer.
I do not have an MFA or BFA in design and was originally self-taught in media (video) with support from a New York State Arts Council grant and help from Nam June Paik and others in the era of the portapak. And, yes, I did learn how to take apart my camera.
I started studying graphic design and typography in 2002, but have taken university media classes no matter where I’ve lived—from color photography printing and film lighting in Rockport, now called the Maine Media Workshops, to seven years of night and summer courses in design at the School of Visual Arts and Parsons. And even when I am leading a group workshop (in memory issues and brain tumor recovery, for example), I am using design in everything I do, from the layout of the workshop room to the questionnaires I hand out to the slides I create. And I am a big online technical learner—six+ hours of Lynda.com a week since 2004.