of the best examples of how not to use text or pictures in a document
can be found in the most unfortunately obvious places – on
posters, covers and assignment front sheets. I have yet to find
an original image that is suitable for these purposes without some
adjustment, and often considerable adjustment. That’s simply
because images don’t arrive in the proportions that match
the dimensions of an A4 sheet. Another factor is that A4 has right
angles, straight edges whereas many illustrative features people
may wish to use do not.
Then there’s the use of
fonts, or rather the misuse of fonts.
There are more than just Arial
and Times New Roman! (More about this elsewhere.)
The right proportions
An A4 sheet of paper is about 8.5” wide and 11.5” deep.
These proportions are not far off those for a photograph taken by
most digital cameras so if you want to fill the whole page and have
a portrait-type picture then you may be lucky and find it moreorless
However, most times the picture
you want to use is a landscape-type, broader than it is deep or
a completely different shape like square or, even if it has about
the right proportions, you want to fit it within some margins and
it still doesn’t fit. That’s because typical margins
of about an inch will reduce the area to be filled to about 6”
by 9” and that’s quite a different ‘shape’
to the whole page.
of this picture was extracted and saved as a separate file and then
inserted in Word for the background to a poster.
So, you need to do something
with the picture. You need to find part of it which still suits
your purpose and is the right shape, in proportion. Then you crop
the image so that the bit left is the right dimensions. Some image
editors make this easier than others but, however you do it, you’ll
find a bit of trial and error necessary. For those good at arithmetic,
if you work on a ration of 1:1.4 you won’t be far out for
the whole page. To fit within margins try 1:1.5.
Check that the quality looks
OK by resizing the selected bit to the height you want. Small pictures
may be unacceptable if you try and stretch their pixels too much
although a good image editor may try and fill in the gaps with appropriate
colours to maintain a decent image without pixellation (showing
too many squares).