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The grid: A structure for containing type

From: Foundations of Typography

Video: The grid: A structure for containing type

Grids are the building blocks of design. They are a way of dividing space, arranging content, and containing text. A gridded space gives us a structure, we can work strictly within that structure, or we may choose to selectively break out of that structure, either way it is really helpful to have a grid as a starting point. Various grids are built into InDesign and other programs, or you can create your own. The simplest grid is a single column width with a fixed depth and fixed margins, these are typical for books and scholarly journals, for example.

The grid: A structure for containing type

Grids are the building blocks of design. They are a way of dividing space, arranging content, and containing text. A gridded space gives us a structure, we can work strictly within that structure, or we may choose to selectively break out of that structure, either way it is really helpful to have a grid as a starting point. Various grids are built into InDesign and other programs, or you can create your own. The simplest grid is a single column width with a fixed depth and fixed margins, these are typical for books and scholarly journals, for example.

A more complex grid may vary in the number of columns and the way those columns can be combined. The 12 column grid used by Willy Fleckhaus at the German magazine twin remains a classic and is being used for web and mobile design as well as for print because it is so flexible. It divides evenly into six columns, four columns, three columns, and two columns or into numerous uneven combinations like 7 and 5 or 5, 4, and 3.

The more flexible a grid is the more useful it is because it can be reconfigured to suit many purposes. Using a grid as a template for multiple designs or multiple iterations of a design will do two important things, save you time and unify your project. This grid structure allows for columns of multiple widths to accommodate a variety of related stories. It is complex but organized. This spread utilizes a basic three column grid, on the second page the captions and infographics break out into a subsection of that grid.

Based on a variation of the Fleckhaus grid this page has a five column grid. The headline deck and intro text crossed the width of the five full columns underneath them. A separate story at the right is a subset of that grid, the hand in the illustration at the bottom and the glasses in the illustration at the top left break through the grid, creating a dynamic layout. When I work as an art director at Time Magazine our grid system allowed designers to make quick layout decisions which were essential in meeting our tight closing deadlines.

And the grids also created a seamless design environment that was cohesive as a whole, even though there were many designers working on one magazine simultaneously. But the system was flexible enough to allow designers to express a wide range of visuals keeping the magazine fresh and vibrant. Following a grid creates unity and violating the grid creates variety. Both unity and variety are principles of design that you can use to create cohesive and dynamic visuals.

The grid is an important tool in your visual arsenal.

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This video is part of

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Foundations of Typography

46 video lessons · 31433 viewers

Ina Saltz
Author

 
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  1. 9m 5s
    1. Welcome
      1m 58s
    2. Why good typography matters
      1m 55s
    3. The power of type
      1m 53s
    4. The theory of typographic relativity
      1m 53s
    5. Getting the most out of this course
      1m 26s
  2. 23m 49s
    1. Serif vs. sans serif
      3m 27s
    2. Display type vs. text type
      3m 39s
    3. Type history
      2m 48s
    4. Type classification
      4m 8s
    5. Other type categories
      3m 24s
    6. Guidelines for combining typefaces
      3m 49s
    7. Using cases
      2m 34s
  3. 18m 28s
    1. Anatomy: Parts and shapes of type
      4m 35s
    2. Size and measurements of type
      2m 18s
    3. Type families: Widths, weights, and slopes
      3m 53s
    4. Reviewing the terminology of type, based on function
      3m 27s
    5. Working with color and tonal weight: Exercises
      4m 15s
  4. 20m 27s
    1. Kerning and kerning pairs
      3m 33s
    2. Tracking and leading
      3m 49s
    3. Exploring variations in type alignment
      3m 55s
    4. Hyphenation and justification
      3m 13s
    5. Indents, outdents, and hanging punctuation
      2m 26s
    6. Other typographic best practices
      3m 31s
  5. 10m 3s
    1. Where type begins: The mark of the hand
      2m 28s
    2. Related parts and shapes: Family resemblances
      4m 35s
    3. Designing a typeface
      3m 0s
  6. 22m 19s
    1. How legibility and readability differ
      3m 48s
    2. Examining factors affecting legibility
      4m 46s
    3. Hierarchy and functionality
      4m 29s
    4. Systematized hierarchy
      3m 52s
    5. Paragraphs, drop caps, and entry points
      2m 41s
    6. Typographic abominations
      2m 43s
  7. 11m 8s
    1. Opposing forces of typography
      3m 8s
    2. The grid: A structure for containing type
      3m 6s
    3. Contrast and scale
      4m 54s
  8. 9m 41s
    1. Typographic expressiveness
      3m 22s
    2. The emotional impact of type
      2m 47s
    3. Three-dimensional type
      3m 32s
  9. 8m 55s
    1. Working with numbers
      2m 10s
    2. Expert characters and analphabetic symbols
      1m 56s
    3. Using typography to navigate content
      1m 51s
    4. Using typography to navigate the environment
      2m 58s
  10. 9m 14s
    1. Managing fonts and building your type library
      3m 14s
    2. Developing your typographic eye
      2m 31s
    3. Breaking the rules
      1m 41s
    4. What's next
      1m 48s

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