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I am looking at designing a information sheet that will 99% of the time be printed out.

I am scratching my head a little over a simple choice I have. Thinking about it there are three main layout options:

enter image description here

3 seems the most readable to be however bare in mind that this is designed to be printed thus saving paper is neccesary.

With some short fields such as gender there could also be an argument to squish even more than 2's two onto a line, though this seems a terrible idea to me.

The information in the boxes is merely demonstrative. The important part I am considering here is layout.

Does anyone know of any good research that could help direct me to the way to go?

  • What dimensions have the sheets where you'll be printing? – Alejandro Veltri May 7 '15 at 14:28
  • regular a4s............. – the other one May 7 '15 at 15:10
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There are several guidelines written about printed documents, and some research, which is generally aimed at the visually impaired. Some useful information can be distilled from this research though to make it applicable to your case.

Check out this bit of research at APH for example:

Ideally, a line of type should accommodate 62 characters in 12 point typeface, 39 characters in a large print format, give or take a few characters. In heavy text the reader's eye tends to get tired in mid-line. One way often used to eliminate this effect is to use a two-column format.

Even though this is not necessarily heavy text, because you are segmenting your information and need to save paper, option 1 would be your best bet in my opinion. Because it saves vertical space and leaves you with clear segmented information that's easy on the eye. Take in account that you are printing a document that doesn't require thurough reading, a column layout makes it easier to scan for sections.

  • Can you summarize the relevant part of that link rather than just have a link? That helps prevent linkrot. – JonW May 7 '15 at 14:53
  • Good point! Added the excerpt that is most useful in my case. – kn03i May 7 '15 at 15:03
  • strange that this document says to avoid serifs. Other advice I've seen says for screens sans serif is the way to go but for paper serifs are best¬ – the other one May 7 '15 at 16:28

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