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Editing Principle 05: Rule of Odds

lisbonOdd numbers are better than even numbers.

One page is better than two pages. One paragraph is (usually) stronger than two. Three paragraphs tend to be more persuasive than four.

Generally speaking, odd numbers are more pleasing to the eye, and are experienced by readers / viewers / passersby as more calming.

This is (weird but) true for floral arrangements, piles of magazines on your coffee table, fish in a bowl — most anything, including the arrangement of text. Whether this deeply-ingrained aesthetic preference is due to nature or nurture, we couldn’t tell you. But it turns out to be fact more often than not.