reference manual

In this project, ma students had to prototype a home reference manual. The main goal was to understand how text, photos and diagrams work together to explain information to a general audience.

For this exercise, I researched how the users of the typical 'guitar guide for beginners' could better interpret the representations of basic chords.

In development stages, pictures, illustrations and diagrams were analysed and tested as alternatives for depicting chords and right hand movements. Content was organised in the context of a beginner's guide to the acoustic guitar, where readers would find information ranging from historical facts to basic playing mechanics. For the latter part, the input from task analysis and user-testing sessions played a decisive role in determining how text and diagrams could be presented to the reader.

Cover and back cover.

Spread on the history of the acoustic guitar.

Timeline, detail.

Spread presenting the instument's parts and functions.

Constructive parts and their functions. [1]

Constructive parts and their functions. [2]

Understanding the roles of right and left hands in playing.

Left hand in playing and basic finger notation.

Left hand technique and respective chord notation.

Left hand technique, detail.

Left hand technique, depicting movement.


Task analysis and user testing, essential for understanding the effectiveness of diferent chord representations.

Alternative angles for depicting basic left hand positioning.

Alternative angles for depicting basic right hand positioning and movement.

Defining the manual's typographic grid.

Defining the necessary typographic styles.

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