Figure Preparation

Figures published in the AJA must adhere to the formatting guidelines outlined below. Authors should also refer to recent print-published figures for presentation style. The AJA retains the right to resize figures. Approximately one figure per three to four pages of MS Word text is recommended for print publication. Color reproduction is at cost to the author (contact aja@aia.bu.edu for more information). 

See also the section on Figures in Supplementary Content for information on Image Galleries.

Figures should be named using author last name and figure number. Any multipanel figures (i.e., figures with parts labeled a, b, c, d, etc.) should, if possible, be submitted as individual files at the preferred size and correct resolution with a supporting low-resolution file showing preferred print layout. It is helpful if a high-quality hard copy of each figure is also supplied, printed at the preferred publication size. Supplied hard copies must match digital files.

The AJA accepts figures in the following file formats: .tif, .psd, ai., eps. JPG files are not recommended for print-published content. Figures submitted in MS Word, Excel, or PowerPoint will not be accepted.

Figure Size

  • Refer to these print-published page dimensions when sizing figures. Crop around the figure element so that unnecessary white space is removed.
      in. cm picas
    1-column width 3 7.6 18
    Page width 6.4 16.3 38
    Page length 9 22.9 54

Figure Type

  • Raster Figures

  • These image file types are resolution dependent and so must meet the minimum resolution requirements and should be submitted as .tif or .psd files.
    • Monochrome (Line Art): A graph or chart made of solid black and white, with no gray values. Resolution = 1,200 dpi.
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    • Halftone: A color or grayscale photograph with no text or lines. Resolution = 300 dpi.
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    • Combination Halftone: A color or grayscale figure containing halftone and line art elements. Resolution = 600 dpi.
  • Vector Figures

  • These image file types are typically generated using drawing or illustration programs (e.g., Adobe Illustrator [.ai]). They are resolution independent and so can be sized up or down without quality loss.
    • Line Art: An example includes a graph or chart created in an illustration program. The figure should be saved as an .eps file with all fonts embedded. If using Illustrator, check the “Embed Fonts” box when saving the file.
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    • Combination Line/Halftone: An example includes a color or grayscale figure containing halftone and line art elements. The halftone elements should be processed in Photoshop and the line elements in Illustrator; the two elements from the two applications should then be combined in Adobe Illustrator and saved as an .eps file with all fonts embedded.
  • EPS Figures

  • The AJA also accepts Encapsulated PostScript files (.eps) as an alternative to vector files.

Text and Labels

  • All text and labels embedded in a figure should be 8–10 point type size in a clear sans serif typeface. On maps, include a north arrow and a scale in km/m, and a key if appropriate; on figures showing artifacts, provide a scale if possible if there is no mention of size in the caption. Graphs must have all axes and lines labeled.
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  • Authors should aim to keep all text and labels (e.g., axis labels, scale text, inset text, etc.) approximately the same size and should avoid boldface font. Text and labels that cross a dark or textured area should be placed on a white background or highlighted using a stroke style. It is helpful if text and labels are placed on open style layers that can be modifed by the AJA.
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  • General titles of figures should appear in the figure caption, not in the figure itself.

Crediting Sources

  • If figures are copied from another publication, ­acknowledgments must be made in the caption. Authors are responsible for obtaining any necessary permissions to ­reproduce copyrighted material (a copyright permissions form template is attached at the end of these guidelines). The following conventional designations should be noted:
    • “after” = possible redrafting but no change in information
    • “modified from” = some change
    • “adapted from” = radical changes
    • If no change is made to the figure, authors should reference only the source.
    • If the author holds rights to the figure, no credit is necessary.