When I saw the LaTeX thesis template provided by my department I cringed. It seemed like the only goal of the unknown creator was to preserve paper, completely neglecting aesthetics and readability. Fortunately I was allowed to create my own template.
Problem: Find and adapt a LaTeX thesis template that meets both established and my own aesthetic standards.
A lot of thought has gone into the age old art of typesetting and typography. Although I am very interested in these topics, I’m not an expert. I therefore looked for a good LaTeX thesis template and finally found the classicthesis package by André Miede which is inspired by Robert Bringhurst’s “The Elements of Typographic Style”.
My thesis features a lot of figures that need to be displayed as large as possible. I therefore defined commands that allow figures to reach into the margin of the page. In combination with my numerous margin quotes, this is a great trade-off between keeping the proper page area for readability and providing enough space for wide figures. Having a floating, multi-picture figure extend to the left on odd pages and to the right on even pages was no easy task, but I finally managed to define the new commands
\bigtriplefigure. An example of
\bigtriplefigure is shown at the top left of the above image. The code is too long to feature here, if you have any questions feel free to contact me.
I also made heavy use of the
\graffito command for margin notes and quotations. Margin notes are useful for providing contextual, interesting information that is not important for the primary content. If something is too insignificant for a footnote, it might be a good margin note. More frequently however, I used quotations to make the thesis more lively and less bland. The following command ensures that all quotations look the same. The first parameter is the quote, while the second is the quoted person.
For more information on the typographic side of my thesis you can read the colophon at the very end of my thesis.
Edit (2015-06-27): Since I repeatedly get requests for actual LaTeX code, I uploaded my full source code. The code does not compile with current LaTeX distributions, mainly because of dirty hacks that work around previous errors in other LaTeX packages. I also did not include the required data and images with the code. If I were you, I would download the latest ClassicThesis version and try to incorporate the parts you need from this code. The figure definitions are in
SpecialDefinitions.tex, their usage is all around the source code in