Sloppy layout? Not pretty? The 4e handbooks is one of the most readable and easy-on-the-eyes RPG books out there, and without question the best looking D&D manual yet seen.they got that almost perfect, regardless of how the game itself was designed. Oh well, opinions and all that... I agree WotC has problems, but I can't imagine what RPG books you'd think look better than the 4e volumes.
Thus spake Anonymous, commenting on my post "Concerned". And yeah, we can differ in our opinions on what makes something good-looking. But ergonomics is a science, it ain't fuzzy, and it applies to text. Take orphans, for example. An orphan, in this case, is a final line in a paragraph or page that is extremely short, especially if it's just one single word. Like a road that suddenly ends without warning, an orphan leaves you lost, especially if there's lots of blank space below it. The eye, used to easily tracking across the page, then down and across again, like a train on a track, wanders a moment, searching for the rest of the track. Likewise with unjustified text. Those ragged fringes of words make you hunt around, breaking up the flow of your reading. Both aren't huge problems; most people are able to find the next bit of text without too much effort. They're not nearly as egregious as a busy background that forces you to decipher every letter, for instance. But they are signs of sloppy layout. They waste paper and needlessly bulk out books. They demonstrate a lack of attention to detail. Only WotC, and maybe White Wolf and Steve Jackson, could get away with including such in their books and not fear losing something of the good opinion of their audience. The 4e core books are full of both.
And while it may be easier to read the words on the page, finding the page you want can be a real pain. There's no glossary, and the index is less than useful. The powers are listed only by level, never alphabetically. If a resource mentions "Close Quarters", and doesn't tell you what that is, you'll have to hunt for it on your own. Good luck, if you don't remember it's a 10th level Rogue Utility Exploit.
Now, let's compare that to GURPS 4th edition Basic Set: Characters. Orphans are almost non-existent. The text is justified, large, and easy to read. Even more than that, each chapter is color-coded, with thick bands of color along the edge of the page, making it easy to find the chapter you need. There's a small glossary in the front, with the page number of the larger glossary in the companion book Campaigns. Powers and traits are listed alphabetically. Need to read up on the Terrain Adaptation advantage? You'll find it right between Tenure and Terror. And the GURPS book has a six pages of three-column index. The 4e D&D PHB has a measly single page, though at least it's four columns.
Now we can quibble about details (I think the borders used in the GURPS books are a tad thick and their drop boxes seem a bit chunky as well) and the quality of the interior art, but the core books for GURPS 4e are far more professional looking and easier to use than their D&D counterparts. And I'll be surprised if SJG had a tenth of WotC's budget.