Katie Shafsky: Field Notes- Space

Yul-Mtl Moving Landscapes is an architecture book that focuses on the planning and design of the city of Montreal. The book is 262 pages and is separated into four sections, with space for each section determined by the content. For example, the “Vision” section is only 20 pages, while the “Illustration” is 70 pages. The dimensions of the book are 7.2 x 1 x 9.2 inches.

The margins of the book are fairly inconsistent from page to page, which seems intentional to accommodate the use of photos, text and infographic used throughout the book. However, in some instances, it feels like the designer could have been more consistent in the spacing of the page. I’ll use pages 42 and 43 (pictured below),  a two-page timeline spread, as an example. (I’m counting the left margin on page 42 and right margin on page 43.)

The margins on this spread are .6 inches on the left, . 4 inches on the right, .5 inches on the top and 1.4 inches on the bottom (not including the footnote).

Some pages, however, are consistent with their spacing in the margins. In the following two images, the margins are 2 inches on the left, .8 inches on the right, .8 inches on the top and 1 inch on the bottom.


The second image shows that the left margin is filled with image, text and a color block related to that specific section of the book, a design element used consistently throughout.


On average, word use (referring to text written in paragraph form) is limited, with about half of each section, respectively, focusing on words rather than image. I found that the combination of of the two was imperative in this text for explaining the architectural concepts discussed. The layout is not consistent from page to page or section to section, but seems to be thoughtful and appropriate for the concept being discussed. From briefly reading some of the text, I thought the pages with just text (shown above in image two) were appropriate, as there were no technical concepts being explained. In the third image shown above, the layout of the page is designed around the unique figures used on the page, making it inconsistent with any other page in the text.

Overall, I thought the use of white space was smart, as it added balance to what may otherwise look like a cramped design. Because the pages, for the most part, don’t have a consistent design, the use of white space to guide the reader through the pages feels especially important.