Layout

The term layout refers to the way something is designed, arranged, or laid out. In written text, this is usually how visual elements, such as pictures, fonts, and headings, are presented on the page. Analysing layout features is crucial for understanding not only text, but the intentions behind posters, advertisements, and other marketing mediums. 

Layout Layout

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Table of contents

    Layout meaning

    Let's look at what the meaning of layout is in more detail. We will look at the layout of written text, along with the main examples of layout features, and why layout features are important.

    Layout definition

    What exactly is the definition of a layout or layout features?

    Layout in written text is the way something is the arrangement of visual elements on a page. These visual elements known as layout features include text, images, headings, spacing, and more. Layout can help determine the main points of a text and make the text easier to read.

    Layout examples

    An example of a familiar layout feature is a restaurant menu. A menu is usually split into different sections with big, bold titles such as 'starters', 'mains', 'desserts', and 'drinks'. Under this, the food and drink items are usually clearly laid out with a description underneath in smaller text and pricing to the side. There may even be images of the food and drink that help the reader to visualise what they will be ordering.

    This familiar layout helps to guide the reader through the menu and understand what they are looking at.

    What are the main parts of a layout?

    Layout usually has three main parts through which layout features are organised- the introduction, main body, and conclusions.

    The introduction is the first point of contact the reader has with the content. It must be engaging and outline the main points of the article.

    The main body, on the other hand, is where the most important parts of the text can be found. It must be clear and concise, corresponding to what the introduction said it would discuss.

    Finally, the conclusion brings all the strands of your argument together and summarises it. Sometimes the article presents a new idea in relation to the rest of the essay that can expand on the possibilities of the main body of the text. It must be able to stand on its own; one should be able to understand what the article is trying to convey by just reading the conclusion.

    What are the layout feature examples?

    Apart from having engaging content, it is important to include other features and elements of a 'layout' to attract readers to your work. In this section, we will discuss the different layout features with layout features examples, and how you can use them in your writing.

    1. Headings and subheadings

    In most cases, a heading is the first point of contact the readers have with the written material and its layout features. It must be able to capture their attention. Headings and subheadings are short statements describing what the section is about. Generally, headings are in a larger font compared to subheadings, like they are in this article. While headings are the building blocks, the subheadings are the roadmap! They help keep both the reader and the writer on track.

    2. Second paragraph

    It is important to note that generally, a paragraph revolves around one main idea, which is introduced at the beginning of the paragraph. Using paragraphs effectively helps get an idea across to your readers. Much like the introduction, main body, and conclusion, paragraphs help structure writing effectively.

    Paragraphs open with a topic sentence which introduces the main point. A topic sentence should be short and precise. The next section, or what is also known as the supporting sentences, is the main body of the paragraph. This part provides evidence and supports the topic sentence.

    Finally, you end the paragraph with a concluding sentence that links back to the main idea, whilst providing a transition into the next paragraph (or the next idea, if it applies).

    3. Spacing

    Howdoyoufeelreadingthis?

    Reading the sentence above wasn't the best experience, was it? That is the power of spacing! Using white space helps the reader process information and gives the eyes a break, preventing strain.

    4. Font Colour

    Font colour is the colour that is used to write text. It is important because it can convey meaning. Colours can convey emotion, helping readers recall information and maintain attention. When used effectively, colours can make text aesthetically pleasing and help make large blocks of text easier to digest.

    Tip: Notice how colour is used in this article and how different colours and headings break up the large chunks of text

    5. Font size

    The text of font size is the size of the characters that are displayed or printed. It is essential to get this right as it will impact the readability of the text. The wrong text size will make it difficult to read and disengage the reader, creating a negative reading experience. Using the correct text size is important to make the reading experience as easy as possible for the reader so they remain interested in the text. The most common font sizes are 11 and 12.

    6. Font Type

    Font is the graphical representation of text. There are many fonts such as Arial, Times New Roman, Georgia, etc. It is important to use the right font as it makes it easier for the reader to read, and this will allow you to gain more readers. Certain fonts are suitable in different contexts. In an academic essay, one would expect you to use a basic font, such as Times New Roman, whereas a more interesting and eye-catching font would be required in an advertisement.

    7. Textboxes

    Text boxes are a tool that allows you to add text or pictures anywhere in the document. This allows you to draw attention to a specific area of the file, by being able to design a particular text box for instance (by way of colours, borders, etc.).

    Layout, screenshot of textbox in Word, StudySmarterWe are able to design textboxes and add text to a document - Microsoft Word screenshot

    The above picture shows you an example of a text box in Microsoft Word and the various options on the left-hand side you can use to design it. This can be decided based on the theme and the other colours you are using in the articles. An advantage of using a text box is that you can easily move around text when required.

    Tip: Have a look at the article on font colour if you are confused about how many colours to use in your work.

    8. Graphs, Charts, Tables, Pictures

    Graphs, charts, tables, and pictures are important tools that help organise and visualise the content. Depending on the kind of text, they each serve a different purpose. For instance, if it was a book aimed at kids aged 3-4, the pictures would be very different from that in a business presentation, as can be seen below.

    Layout, child reading book with pictures, StudySmarterA children's book usually has big, bright pictures that entertain and educate the child - Pixabay

    Layout, business presentation charts, StudySmarterA business presentation will have specific images, graphs, charts, and tables - Pixabay

    9. Captions

    A caption is a small statement contextualising the image, helping the reader to understand the relevance of the image in relation to the text. Let's look at an example of this layout feature:

    Layout, man on bench, caption, StudySmarterCaptions help the reader to interpret and understand the image - Pixabay

    What do you think of the image above? One could come to multiple conclusions:

    • He could be a new guy in the city, lost? Mourning? Waiting for somebody?

    There are multiple ways to interpret an image, right? Image captions help the reader understand the image in relation to the text. It is important to always have captions for your images to help the reader focus on the text.

    Why is layout important?

    The layout and layout features are important to structure content and written information. How layout features are organised affects how the content is interpreted by the reader. A poor layout can lead to disengaged and uninterested readers. On the other hand, a good layout allows for easy navigation of the text. In addition, a well-organised layout can help maintain the reader's attention, which is what you want as a writer!

    Layout - key takeaways


    • Layout describes the way something is designed or arranged on the page.

    • The three main parts of any written text are: introduction, main body, and conclusion.

    • Some of the features to keep in mind while designing the layout of your written material are - headings, subheadings, paragraphs, spacing, colour, text size, font, text boxes, graphs, pictures, and captions.

    • A poorly designed layout makes a text more difficult to read and causes readers to disengage from the text.

    • A good layout is beneficial to both the reader and the writer as it allows for easy navigation and maintains the reader.

    Frequently Asked Questions about Layout

    What is the definition of layout?

    Layout can be defined as the way something is designed or arranged.

    What is a layout example?

    An example of a layout would include a rough plan of what you would write in each section of your text. This may include bullet points or just words.

    What is another word for layout?

    Another word or synonyms of layout are - blueprint, design, structure, outline, format and plan.

    Test your knowledge with multiple choice flashcards

    Which of the following is a synonym for layout?

    Which of the following are elements of layout?

    Which of the following is generally the first point of contact the reader has with the text?

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    Team Layout Teachers

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