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Artwork (1 of 3)

Preparing your figures can be tricky and there are lots of areas to consider: size, resolution, acceptable file format, use of colour or black and white, labelling and shading to name just a few. Here, we’ll just take a brief look at sizing and labelling … Artwork Tips Part 1!

Sizing Check out the dimensions of the text area of your target book or journal so that you can design the figures to fit column or landscape size. Each figure should be large enough to show detail clearly at the size it will be reproduced in the publication. We recommend supplying your figures at their finished, final size. For example, a GSL Special Publication (SP) has a single column, double column and mid-width of 65, 135 and 100mm, respectively, and a landscape dimension of 204mm, so if you’re an SP author design your figures to fit these sizes.

Publication sizes

  Text width (mm)
  Single Column  Mid-width Double column  Landscape 
Book series 

Special Publications 65 100 135 204
Memoir 84 120 to 130 176 254
Special Report 84 120 176 232
Engineering Geology Special Publication 76 - 156 210
PGC 84 120 to 130 176 254
Journal of the Geological Society QJEGH 84 120 176 254
Petroleum Geoscience 84 120 176 254
GEEA 84 120 176 254
PYGS 84 120 176 254
Scottish Journal of Geology 84 120 176 254
GEEA, Geochemistry: Exploration, Environment, Analysis; PGC, Petroleum Geology Conference series; PYGS, Proceedings of the Yorkshire Geological Society; QJEGH, Quarterly Journal of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology

Labelling and line weights A sans-serif typeface, such as Helvetica or Arial, is best for labels. Axis labelling, lettering and any plotting symbols should be sized appropriately for the figure and its final size. Choose 9pt for normal text labels (about 2mm high) and no smaller than 6pt for subscript and superscript characters when scaled to final size. Any smaller may be illegible, but too large (>12pt) can result in a ‘cartoonish’ appearance. Create your labels in lower case with an initial capital and include units if appropriate, in parentheses. Graphs should have all axes and lines labelled. Maps should include latitude (°N, °S) and longitude (°W, °E), a north arrow and a scale in metres or kilometres (note: please not capital M or K, or US spelling meters!). Maths labels should be typed exactly as they appear in the text of your paper – if a symbol is italic in the text or equation, it should be italic in the figure. All relevant detail, including a key, must be legible at final size.

Embed all fonts used and crop the image tightly. Use a line weight of 0.3pt at final size (don’t use hairlines as these can disappear when printed). Prominent lines (e.g. plot lines on graphs) should be 1pt (maximum 1.5pt).

Do not include within the illustration a general title for your figure or any labelling that duplicates the caption. Remove any logos, company diagram numbers or other extraneous matter. Avoid boldface lettering if possible. If you need to credit a source, this should be included within the caption. If the figure is multi-panelled and composed of several parts labelled (a), (b), (c) etc., please make sure the parts are clearly marked and the labels embedded in the file (note: use lower case letters not capitals).

Finally, label all your figure files with author name, figure number and file.

You can find all the information you need in the Illustrations guidelines on our website.

Best wishes 

The Production Team