The creating of a book is a much more complicated process than people realise. People do not often think about the work that is involved in such creation. This paper shall examine the meaning of one word which is used quite often in the creation of a book. This word is ‘margin’. In examining such a word, this paper shall look at its meaning and its significance in the area of literature. By the end of this paper, the reader should have a solid understanding of such word.

The word ‘margin’ refers to the empty space that surrounds the block of words in a text. This space is created in order to make the writing more visually appealing and to make it easier to read. For example, in academic work, lecturers often ask their students to make their writing double spaced. This is done for much the same reason; to make it less difficult to read.

The term ‘margin’ is important to understand when writing about bibliography because it allows people to realise the subtle ways in which the manufacturers of books improve the relationship that readers have with texts. Another essential feature of margins is that they help to define where a text begins and ends. They are also a place where you can position your thumb in order to make it simpler to read.

Paul Harris and Gavin Ambrose argue that a page has several margins in several locations. These include the head margin, the inner margin, the outer margin and the foot margin. The head margin is located at the top of the page, the inner margin is at the binding page, the outer margin is placed at the fore edge and the foot margin is at the bottom of the page (Harriss & Ambrose, 2010).

The term ‘gutter’ is related to the term ‘margin’. This is because this term refers to the margins of between the spines of two facing blocks of text.

Publishers try to ensure that the words on a page are ‘fully justified.’ This means that they are spread out to be flush with the left and right margins. The reason why this is done is to give the page a much neater appearance and, as has been previously discussed, make it easier for the reader. On the other hand, ‘A left-justified margin’ has the text on the left hand side visually aligned perfectly with the left margin. A ‘right-justified margin’ is the opposite of this.

Roger Bringhurst argued that “Perhaps fifty per cent of the character and integrity of a printed page lies in its letterforms. Much of the other fifty per cent resides in its margins” (Bringhurst, 2002). He was essentially arguing about the significance of the margin. In his view, it gives the page character. He was arguing that books in the past had much larger margins than today’s books and had a lot more character.

To conclude, the margin refers to the blank space surrounding border of text on a page. The margin is very important as it makes writing much easier to read. It has a significant aesthetic purpose as well as allowing space for notes to be made regarding the text.

Ambrose, Gavin & Harriss, Paul. The Visual Dictionary of Typography. Lausanne: AVA Publishing, 2010. Print.
Bringhurst, Robert. The Elements of Typographic Style. Vancouver: Hartley & Marks Publishers, 2002. Print.

Contributed by William Arnold.


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