Hey hey,

Welcome to my very first blog post.

One aspiration of guide authors (including me) is to make a guide look nice and fancy. However, I feel like many authors make the mistake of trying to make their guide look nice without taking readability into account.
Readability? What?
Well, as a guide author you want to give your reader information.
The readability is an indicator of how easy the information gets across.
What does this have to do with making a guide look fancy?
Some ways of making things look nice will make it harder to read a guide.
What are the main offenders?
Imo, the topic of this blog - Centered text and text effects.
When thou shall use Centered Text

Behold this proclamation

For Centered Text

May only be used

Below Centered Headers

"But hey, Kata, I got centered headers D: wdym"

Well yes, that may be. But the centered text will consist of a couple of sentences that start at different places. The result is that rather than ABSORBING the PRECIOUS information, the eyes have to play HIDE AND SEEK. This is tiring and can be detrimental for your readers' willingness to read what you write.

The solution: uncenter the header (SPOILER: centered header with uncentered text often does not look good). Headers don't have to be centered to fulfill their purpose. Make them a little bigger, indent them and they'll be fine (but please, do not go HAM with text effects...)

Above paragraph but centered
Bold, Color, Size or All

The text effects! Boom. Flash. Fancy. One could say that color is a good way of making a guide look good. But what actually happens is that my eyes become sore and makes them roll out of their sockets. I want to read the information but my eyes don't get the chance and grow tired. Even worse, if you Rainbow Color your guide it often ends up being all over the place, lacking a theme and thus cohesion - making it harder to read.

Text doesn't need fifty shades of color to look fancy, a nice alignment (aka not centered) and paragraphs are all you need. There are occasions where you may want to highlight certain sentences/words. But this only happens in large paragraphs/pieces or text, in ability tooltips or in other niche cases.

Here are some (extremely well-presented) guides that highlight some things in text using color, but keep it very reserved. Do not get distracted by the rest of the graphic, but just focus on the text (also note the lack of centered text).

L3gislacerator's Taric Guide
Any of Sleepininthegarden's guides
Psiguard's Nocturnomicon

You can even get away with not highlighting any sentences/words at all, here are some great guides that do this:

Any of Jovy's guides
Any of Maintained's guides

Two more color things:
  • Avoid coloring entire paragraphs; the only exception are tooltips
  • Avoid making the item section rainbow colored. Yes, if you give every header (if used) the same color scheme as the corresponding item you get an item section that is all over the place. Is your guide theme Elementalist Lux? No? Try to match header color with your guide theme!
Sometimes I have the idea that people think they have to make the text a lil' better to read ("normal text looks so BORING"). They solve it by bolding entire paragraphs.
Hol' up! Stop! Right there! Freeze!
Doing this will decrease the readability. It won't look fancier and it will assault your reader's eyes instead.

Same paragraph but

Now, increasing the size of entire paragraphs doesn't necessarily make the text harder to read. But it doesn't add anything either. If anything, it is just a waste of space... If people can't read tiny text they can just zoom in with the browser right?
But WAIT, how do I check whether my guide is readable?
Easy: read it yourself, pretend like you are a reader!
But.. I can't find anything that way?!
Sometimes it needs some time (a few weeks or even months)
after editing before you can see what's not right.
I don't have that much time :(
You can also ask someone else to read your guide; You can even ask me to do it.
At a cost: it will be my completely honest opinion
(no fluffing around, no niceties, straight to the point).

That will conclude my rant blog post. I'm too good at generating too long pieces of text, you might not even have come this far... Anyways, feel free to reply and share your thoughts, ask a question, click away in disgust or do nothing, it's your choice ^_^