Aesthetic Measures for Document Layouts: Operationalization and Analysis in the Context of Marketing Brochures


Designing layouts that are perceived as pleasant by the viewer is no easy task: it requires a wide variety of skills, including a sense for aesthetics. When numerous documents with different content need to be created, one of the bottlenecks is to manually create appealing layouts for each document. Thus, automation for aesthetic layout creation is becoming increasingly important. Prerequisite for this automation are algorithms to measure aesthetics. While the literature proposes basic theoretical fundamentals and mathematical formulas as aesthetic measures, researchers have not operationalized these measures yet. This paper presents the challenges associated with and the lessons learned from operationalizing 36 aesthetics measures derived from the literature for the context of marketing brochures. We measured the aesthetics of 744 brochure pages from 10 major retailers and found very strong and highly significant correlations between at least 11 of the aesthetic measures, which represent five latent aesthetic concepts. Still, most of the measures were found to be independent in our sample, and they cover a wide range of different aesthetic concepts. Nevertheless, our results suggest that retailers optimize some of these measures more than others. In terms of the aesthetic measures, retailers seem to design brochure pages in the same way regardless of which category products on this page belong to or if it is the first, last, an odd, or an even page. We propose to consider the quality values of aesthetic measures derived from our analysis of the measured brochures as target values for automated document layout creation for aesthetic marketing brochures.

ACM Symposium on Document Engineering