Reports sometimes put marginalia in the edge borders of pages

The outer edges of pages are not sacrosanct. Every now and then an adventurous firm invades some of the page margin. Booksellers refer to its as marginalia when a reader jots notes in the open space on the side of the page. We have several examples of what we will call “marginalia” in survey reports. In each of them the right gray line is the edge of the page.

Davies Ward Barometer 2006 [pg. 15] sports abstract images in the right margins, extending to the edge of the page.

Allen Matkins Commercial 2018 [pg. 16] covers four varieties of commercial space. The lower right margin names the four spaces with a vertical divider between each of them and changes the font color of the particular variety discussed on the page. This technique orients readers to their location in the report. Squint and you can see that the page has a faint watermark of structural beams.

DLA Piper Compliance 2016 [pg. 4] extends text boxes into the margin. Doing so directs even more attention to the already looming percentage.

The odd-numbered pages of Clifford Chance Debt 2010 [pg. 9], which are on the right-side page, have a thick blue border on three of their sides. The inner side has no blue border, and the outer side has in the margin the words “SURVEY FINDINGS.”

Page outlines (border lines) vary significantly

Morrison Foerster Consumer 2015 [pg. 12] outlines its pages with a wash of blue extending the whole page on both sides. As with all the page outlines shown here, you could do away with the gradient blue shading and lose nothing — except a dash of color that pleases the eye.

The top of each page in the Paul Hastings China 2013 report sports a thin, colored bar. The longer left segment appears looks to be brick-red and it extends well beyond the gap between the two columns of the page. The right segment has a khaki hue. No other side of a page has any border decoration.

With Pinsent Mason Infratech 2017 [pg. 31] (the top image below), each chapter in this 48-page report has a different color scheme. The subtle grey shading at the top of the page serves to highlight on the right side the firm’s name in one type font, the title of the report in another font, and then a rectangular splash of red background for the chapter (with a small call-out pyramid appended on the bottom).

The final image, from Fulbright Jaworski Lit 2008, illustrates an outline border on all sides of the page. Centered inside the border at the top can be seen the name of the firm, a vertical divider and the name of the report. Interestingly, the page number is located in the top left border bracketed by horizontal bars.


Widths of borders on report pages

The width of borders on reports varies significantly between reports but some suggestions of regularities can be discerned. To measure the white space around text plots and visual elements, which I think of as “border space”, my crude method examined five reports. For each I fit the report pages to the size of my monitor (using the Foxit “Fit to page” command) and then measured the border widths in centimeters with my handy-dandy ruler. For all of these rough measurements, I ignored headers and footers; my intent was to measure the space between the edge of the document and the main text or plot.

The subjects of this faux-precise empirical investigation were Allen Matkins CommlRE 2018, Dykema Gossett MA 2017, Mayer Brown Privacy 2015, Morrison Foerster GC Disruption 2017, and Squire Sanders Retail 2013. Two of them leave relatively narrow borders on either side, at 6 cm approximately. The other two leave side borders that are twice as wide. As to borders at the top and bottom of pages, three were in the 12 cm range, while one had a larger top border (about 18 cm) but most of it was filled with a header. The actual widths are larger on an 8.5 inch wide sheet of paper.

Here is the top of a page from the Allen Matkins report. By my reckoning it uses 6 cm sides and 12 cm top margins. By the way, look carefully and you can make out a subtle watermark of coloring.

While the top and side borders were generally uniform on each page of a report, at the bottom there was more variability as sometimes plots or design elements were placed there and extended irregularly down the page, even as far as the edge. Also, the Squire Sanders report alternated a wider border on the outer side of the page. In other words, the right-hand pages (the odd-numbered pages) had the broader right margin (18 cm by my ruler) while the left hand page had the broader left margin. Squire Sanders often placed quotes in red font in the broad margin pages. Here is an example [pg. 24].