I was going to write about something else when I logged into my wordpress site, updated the theme, and then noticed that no matter what, my cursor gave equal spacing to the right and left margin of my text. Previously, everything the text editor did was composed to the left in the input rectangle. Drafts look just fine when “previewed” yet this difference is causing me a great deal of anxiety; enough to change the intended topic of my writing.
I last had concerns about (writing) margins when looking for ways to meet collegiate paper requirements. Eight page assignment? “OK…well, what about the font and margins?” said I and many many other students who thought they cleverly arbitraged. Oooh, the paper may not be done in Ariel 10 with x margins by Ariel 12 with y margins and I’m there!! It was a pretty easy way to squeeze out the requirements of the assignment, to juice them. Did the professors know Lotus Ami Pro?
Of course, the professors and their aides must have long since caught onto these tricks, even circa 1991. Yet the imprint of that experience is so deep this is what I’m thinking about with unsuspecting new margins in 2018 going on 2019.
If I say “Margin” the free form association is most likely to be “of error.” For myself, after 15+ years of actively seeking financial leverage through borrowing on the margin it is another. Maybe either is too negative. Maybe the right association is to give enough freedom…to have a margin on your thoughts which buffer from the chaos of wrongness. Could it be even more trivial than that? That having whitespace on either side of one’s writings helps clarify the thoughts? Gives you the freedom to instinctively say, “I’m not going over the edge here? I can write liberally and with freedom?”
Could such trivial interface changes be so impactful to life?
Identifying one design consideration like this in life, in the safest of all possible considerations – a ruminating blog post composition, leads one easily to think: where else in life does this apply? Where design is destiny? Is design nearly always destiny, when we think we are agents more consciously in control than we really are?
Maybe margins give us safety to do risky things.