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Beginnings Guides Blog

Reading Gravity

Edmund Arnold devised the Gutenberg Diagram for Typography to illustrate the principles
of reading gravity.  We start to read at the top left corner of a page-that's the Primary
Optical Area (POA on the diagram).  They eye works across and down going from left to
right and back again until we reach the bottom right corner-that's the Terminal Axis (TA).
The pictures are in the fallow corners, areas that are hardest for the eye to navigate.
This placement helps the eye transition smoothly from the bottom of the left column
to the top of the right column Reading gravity says the eye naturally scans across the
page to the right, and back to where it started-at the Axis of Orientation.  Then the
eye drops down to the next line.This movement is reading gravity.  When a design
element prevents the eye from following this pattern, it interrupts the flow of reading
and comprehension plummets.  The x's indicated "fallow" corners.  Wavy lines indicate
backward movement that they resist.


This page from the Parents Guide complies with reading
gravity. The headline at the top brings the eye into the
page.  The short lines make it easy for the eye to return
to its Axis of Orientation without losing its place. The
pictures are in the fallow corners-areas hardest it help
the eye transition smoothly to the right column.  If you
preview the Guides, you will see that all the pages support
reading gravity.  This contributes to easy reading and high
levels of comprehension.

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