I noticed that some participants in the 24 hour competition chose to present their game using landscape orientation ("paper on the side"). Do you feel there are any advantages to use this format over portrait? Or is it just an aesthetic choice?
Another thing I was thinking about is the paper size. Being a Swede I work in A4 by default, but what about using a square format for instance? Should the paper size reflect the designer's artistic point of view, or (since I'm thinking about free RPGs now) should it be made as easy as possible for the end user (that is, a format that he/she can print without hassle at home)?
I think a square book would be fun, you can get them made at lulu. Most games will go with 8.5 inch x 11 inch because that's the standard paper size in the US and printing would be problematic otherwise. Maybe have a square layout just for the print edition and a page layout for the PDF?
Landscape paper orientation works well with "1 Page Character Sheet style" games, as when formatted int to columns and narrow margins you do get a fair bit more space for the small text that is normally used.
Personally if I was writing an RPG rules/source book (I've mainly been doing 1pagers recently) I would stick with profile orientation.
Generally everything her in Canada is done on Letter (8.5x11) sized paper so paper size is just out of convince to end users.
I tend to use 8.5x11 portrait format since that is the USA default. If I recall correctly, two column portrait has some benefits for ease of reading compared to other formats but I don't have a source to back that up. People who read English just naturally go from left to right and top to bottom.
There isn't much difference between A4 and US Letter - I think most printers actually have a built in option to convert between them.
However, having a full-color nice format screen edition, and a cheaper to print no image version would be worth making a distinction. Home printers are rather expensive to operate since they use unicorn blood in the ink. (Bic pen: Plastic +ink 10 cents, Printer: plastic+ink 25$ plus.) Some Reports show its worth more than gasoline or champagne.
Games of imagination are never truly done. Yet tomorrow we shall start another one.
For artwork . . . if it is really complex in detail and colorful, I agree in two formats. One on line with the great artwork, and one without for quick printing.
However test your pics/artwork. If it looks good in "greyscale" they keep it in your printable version. Laser printers that use toner are fast and cheap compared to inkjet/laserink and most people (from my experiance) have access to one either through work or school.
Ultimately it comes down to (IMHO) what you: 1) What Feel like doing/investing your time into creating? & 2) How good you feel about the look of each "finished" product?