Wednesday, October 5

Style Sheets

In several of my classes this semester we've been talking about style sheets. For our second project in Professional Editing we had to use a style sheet as we went through the document editing it, to keep track of how we want to handle elements that could be handled two different ways.
Example: is website one word or two? it could be both, so I wrote it down they way I want in my style sheet.

Today in Document Design, Dr. Shook talked to us about style sheets from the other direction. When you're thinking about producing a document, you first want to decide what font you want to use, what kind of headings, columns or no columns, what size tabs, which kind of alignment, etc. Granted, a lot of that stuff is easy to change if you're working on a short document all by yourself, but if you have more than one person involved, or if the document is hundreds of pages, you probably want to write down all these decisions so you don't forget.

And while he was talking about all this, I realized that I've done this before. When JeriLyn Fisher and I designed and wrote our InDesign Instruction Set, we made a lot of decisions about formatting before we got started.
Chris and I, when we first started Starcustard, argued for a few minutes about fonts, british vs. american spellings, and double vs. single quotation marks. Maybe someday--if we ever want to put Starcustard into print--we'll make more decisions, like where to put the page numbers and headings, and how we want the beginning of each chapter to look. That'll be exciting.

I haven't mentioned the next big collaborative project, but there is one fluttering around in the very near future. A few of us are going to mesh together a lot of ideas about creating a masterpiece. And if we're very serious about making it look amazing, we'll probably think about establishing a stylesheet.

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