Graphic Design Quick Tip: typesetting bullet lists

by / Tuesday, 16 July 2013 / Published in Quick Graphic Design Tips

Bullet lists often get treated with a bit of disregard in long copy documents, newsletters and sales sheets, but they can be tweaked quickly with a couple simple settings. Nicely organized bullet lists can make your page design much easier to navigate, and the information much easier to consume. Here are a couple examples:

This block of copy is pretty much copy-and-paste from the word document. I used a simple greek copy deck for this example. The copy just flows top to bottom with simple indents as were typed originally.


The information is all there, and it’s easy enough to read, but on a whole page filled with type and graphics, it’s not as easy to distinguish where one things begins and another thing ends. In this sample, I just added a small “space-after” of .1 inches (this feature is located in most Adobe programs under the paragraph setting palette)


This helps separate the elements a little better, and makes the content easier to digest in small parts. In the next example, I added a little extra formatting to the bullet list.


By using the indent palette in InDesign, I just set the indent to include everything up to the hard-return. This formats everything in a single bullet to follow the indented alignment. These 3 steps will greatly improve the readability of a bullet list in long copy. You can take it a simple step further, and alter the bullets to something other than the traditional black circle.


The chevrons are a little more interesting in my opinion, and they feel a little less old school. The small box at the end of the bullet list is VERY old school, but I made it solid and grey to change it up. That’s a personal taste choice, but I like to try little things now and again. I think it adds something.

Formatting your bullets is another one of those small things that adds up quickly to help your design along.

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