The page layout of a logbook can involve a fairly complex design process. You may be lucky and already have a template at hand - but if you need to make one from scratch, or redesign an existing layout, then this guide will help.
Where to start?
The most important first step is to outline the activities and measurements that need to be recorded. Once you define the scope of the information you need to record you can proceed to the layout. Consider the following questions:
- Is there an existing logbook that you are replacing (if yes, it can help with establishing the general scope and order of recording the information)?
- Is there a repeating structure/format to the information?
- Are all details recorded at the same intervals - is there anything that needs recording more frequently or less frequently?
- How long will one logbook last?
- Is there a specific order in which the information is recorded or that the procedures are performed?
Once you’ve answered these questions and outlined a basis for your requirements, you will need to decide how detailed the information will have to be. This will determine how much space to allocate to your entries. If there is an existing logbook or notebook that is currently in use, it can serve as a blueprint to identify necessary parameters and words that repeat frequently and can be incorporated into your eventual logbook design to save time.
Categories and sections are the starting point of your page layout
It’s useful to break up the information into sections by category. If you always record things in a certain order - especially if the logbook will be used by people other than just yourself - designing the layout to effectively facilitate that order of information entry will help make the process more consistent.
It may be easier to start with a sheet of paper rather than a file, as the paper allows for greater flexibility when initially laying everything out on the page. A digital file is restricted through formatting and can be distracting with the amount of detail and adjustments it allows, while a physical sheet of paper will let you easily outline sections and adjust them without concerns for formatting. Section off the main parts of your page layout allocating appropriate amounts of space for each based on the amount of detail required.
Use existing records and practices to inform the details of each section
Once the rough layout of the page is complete you will need to specify the details of each section. The best source for that information is a collection of existing records - however, if this is the first logbook to be made then simply recording everything that will go in the logbook for a few days will work well. When there are 5-6 days worth of data it will be possible to see the range of records to be accommodated by the final logbook. Consider extreme situations when extra detail may be required so that the final logbook can be used in all cases - rather than just the default scenarios.
One of the biggest time savers lies in converting fully written out notes into “yes/no” or “check” tables. The user simply marks “yes” or “no” instead of writing everything out each time they perform a check or inspection. The same principle works with tables that list ingredients or actions allowing for the user to simply enter a number (such as “water level XX mm” where one would enter just the number of millimetres instead of writing out the entire section)
When your page layout is complete, or far along enough to give you an idea of book orientation(landscape or portrait) and number of pages; please follow this link to complete our automated custom logbook estimating tool. You don't have to submit a quote request to see prices - this tool is great for estimating costs quickly and easily. If you're not sure what to put in the steps of the logbooks estimating tool then this guide will make it a breeze, and explain exactly what goes in each step.
If you have question regarding the final logbook page design, please include them with your quote application if you chose to submit one. Otherwise you can contact our team at firstname.lastname@example.org and one of our designers will help you.
If you’re still not sure if it's worth it to customize your log book, please use our time saving calculator to estimate how much you will save by customizing your book.