Monday, October 5, 2009

Information at Your Fingertips

In the old OVA design, the black bar on the side was originally intended to vary in length to signify the current chapter, making them easy to skip to when the book's edge is looked at askant. But once put into action, the idea didn't work at all, resulting in a bar too short to fit chapter titles in later chapters and absurdly long in early ones. It was in general odd-looking and tossed in favor of the uniform look we're all familiar with.

But I think quick thumb action is always a good thing in an RPG, and this time around there are little white markers that clearly signify the number of the chapter. Need Abilities and Weaknesses? That's chapter 3, and thus signified by three marks.

Of course, given the relative simplicity and short length of OVA, I'm not entirely sure its actually necessary. What do you guys think?


  1. I think you'd be better off with something on top of the page, not along the edges.
    Look at other books that have good a layout.
    I'm sure there are some?
    Just take a look at "Dust Devils" by Matt Snyder.
    It's really well-done.
    Even if the game ain't your cup of tea, it's well ordered.

  2. Another way to distinguish the chapters is to color-code them. This was done to pretty good effect in both Silver Age Sentinels and Weapons of the Gods.

  3. Nathan: I've never seen thumb indexes on the TOP of a page. It's sort of counter-intuitive, considering the top edge is always facing away from you, thus making the marks invisible until you're on the page they reference. And if that were the case, you could just use headings and chapter titles as your guide.

    If you mean how the whole chapter is listed on the side...well, I actually did experiment with some more traditional headers, but it never panned out how I wanted to. This, somehow, feels familiar, a link to the old design even though it's quite different. And I think that's a good thing. :) That aside, sideways chapter "heads" have been common in even very lavishly produced RPGs for the history of the medium, so I don't think it's really too odd a choice. Do more of you feel this way?

    Ratix: I basically think color-coding is really tacky. That said, GoO's Tenchi Muyo RPG is one of the best looking books they ever produced, and I think the colors are pulled off quite well. Another problem is if I have to make the sacrifice to print once again in B&W...basing a design on colors would be sort of self-defeating. *laughs*

  4. Clay, I just meant page headers, not thumb indexes along the top. What would your thumbs being doing up there anyway?
    This is just personal opinion, and not a really educated opinion at that. I don't really see the point in thumb indexes. Just give me good footers, headers and an index.

  5. In my old OVA book I put a marker alternatingly at the attributes or flaws/perks section, and use thumb indexes frequently on my 4e D&D books. There's really nothing to be lost in OVA by adding them (they look classy to me), but you do stand to gain (at least I do :p).

  6. *lol* I'm the crazzy SOB who would scann ( back in the day) my books so that i could bind a new book with tabs in it to make it easier to find inforamtion. Now, i just use the PDF's, but the princple is the still the same.