Making Connections: Typography, Layout and Language

Robert Waller

These working notes summarise a genre theory that accounts for document layout in a three part communication model that recognises not only the effort of the writer to set out a topic and the purposeful effort by a reader to access information, but also the professional and manufacturing processes that intervene. I suggest that layout genres use conventions that at some historical point are rooted in functionality (of document generation, manufacture or use) but which have become conventionalised. It follows that genres will shift over time as reasons to generate or access information change, and as text technologies develop. Case studies are described that illustrate key aspects of the model and offer insight into the way designers think about layout.

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