Roche Bobois is announcing eight days of special deals with a special catalog.


The photography is marvelous—the angles, lighting, and colors are captured beautifully. From page to page, there is slight variation in the layout, just enough to keep us curious and engaged. The clear separation between text and image makes each page instantly digestible and the subtle overlap between the text block panel and the image breaks the grid structure dynamically.


Yet, the description of the featured items is not at all easy on the eyes. In addition to being small and in a condensed face, this fine print is set in very long lines.


What might happen if we took one column of the item details copy…


…and made it into two?


…or three?


Which of my mockups, at a glance, looks most appropriate to you?

The guideline for line lengths is 45 to 75 characters for a single column page in body copy size, and 40 to 50 characters for multi-column works (Bringhurst, 2.1.2), but this text is smaller than normal body copy and it’s condensed. So this advice doesn’t help much here, and your eye is a better guide.

Or perhaps you’d prefer to try it out yourself. In these examples, I used Helvetica Neue Condensed, which appeared to be the closest match to the face in the actual catalog. The page is 65p wide x 51p tall.

You can flip through the Roche Bobois special catalog here.

Photo (used in mockup) by Ray Kay for Death to Stock.