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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 and edit figures, including retyping labels to match house style. Whenever possible, please submit files with open layers.

Images for the print and digital versions are handled differently. In the digital edition of the journal, authors may have as many color photos as they like. For the print edition, authors will be asked to identify a maximum of three figures that must be in color; the rest will be converted to black and white by the AJA production team. In the event that color is essential for more than three figures, authors are welcome to discuss subvention options with the AJA team. 

In the interest of accessibility and legibility, all maps, graphs, and charts should be grayscale. In bar graphs, for example, shades of gray and varied patterns should be used, rather than colors. Maps should not use satellite imagery as a base layer. 

A maximum of one figure per three to four pages of MS Word text should be submitted; any additional figures should be submitted as Supplementary Content, to be placed in an accompanying online-only Image Gallery.

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.

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 the print-published page dimensions below when sizing figures. Crop around the figure element so that unnecessary white space is removed.

  in. cm
1-column width 3 7.6
Page width 6.4 16.3
Page length 7.5 19.1

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.

Halftone: A color or grayscale photograph with no text or lines. Resolution = 300 dpi.

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.

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 Myriad Pro when the image is sized to the dimensions it will have on the page. 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.

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 modified by the AJA.

General titles of figures should appear in the figure caption, not in the figure itself.

Crediting Sources and Securing Permissions

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 (see copyright permissions form template). 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.