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Setting up a baseline grid

From: InDesign Typography

Video: Setting up a baseline grid

The purpose of using a baseline grid is to make sure that our type cross aligns across columns. If I turn on the grid, we can see that each line of type sits on that grid--and that no matter how many columns we have-- how many different type sizes we have, and admittedly we don't have many different sizes here, but no matter how many we have, everything is aligned to that grid. So it's establishing a really strong rhythm in our document, and that rhythm is very important, because that's what's going to keep the reader's attention, and that's what's going to give credibility to our designs.

Setting up a baseline grid

The purpose of using a baseline grid is to make sure that our type cross aligns across columns. If I turn on the grid, we can see that each line of type sits on that grid--and that no matter how many columns we have-- how many different type sizes we have, and admittedly we don't have many different sizes here, but no matter how many we have, everything is aligned to that grid. So it's establishing a really strong rhythm in our document, and that rhythm is very important, because that's what's going to keep the reader's attention, and that's what's going to give credibility to our designs.

Not to say that we can't occasionally break that rhythm and sometimes we will need to do that, but the rhythm then needs to be reestablished. So the baseline grid is the metronome of our document, and there are three steps to establishing it. First of all, we're going to turn it on. And if you go to turn it on, and it doesn't show up, this might be the reason why, the view percentage. Now, in my case my view percentage is 74 points.

When we go to the Preferences, we can see that the View Threshold is 75%, which means that even when the grid is turned on, it will only show up at views of 75% and above. So I am going to make that less. And how it looks may not bear any relationship to how we want it to end up looking. And that's the case here. So I am going to return to my Grids Preferences and change a number of things.

Firstly, the Color, I want something most subdued, like Light Gray. Secondly, the Start position, currently it's starting at 3 picas from the Top of the Page. I want it to start not from the Top of the Page, but from the Top Margin and exactly on the Top Margin, so I am going to make the Start value 0. The increment is what I want, that's 12 points. So there is nothing else I need to change here. Optionally I could and from time to time do come and change this. If I want my grids to be visible over every object in the document, I would uncheck Grids in Back, but for now I am going to leave that checked.

And that is how our document looks with our baseline grid turned on. When I set up the page, I said I wanted 55 lines from top to bottom in my type area, and here is why. Because I knew in advance that I wanted 8 rows, and each of those 8 rows has 6 lines in it. And there are in addition to the 8x6, we have 7 Gutter spaces, and that equals 55. So that my baseline grid syncs exactly with my column rows, I had to carefully consider that, and that was a design decision that I seemingly made randomly, but I am now letting you know why I chose that number, 55 lines, 55-7=48, 48 divided by 8=6.

And it's 6 lines that I have in each of my rows. So now that we have the Baseline Grid, let's try it out. I am going to go to my document page, and I am going to create a text column over four of my column units. Then I am going to fill that with placeholder text. And we can see that the text currently has no relationship to the baseline grid whatsoever. So I am going to select the text, I will need to make it smaller, I am going to change the font, let's zoom in.

And then to make the text aligned to the grid, I need to come and click on this option right here, Align to baseline grid, and you can now see that each of the types' baselines sit comfortably on that baseline grid. We can turn the rows off if we feel like we have currently too many guides on our page. But now what we need to make sure is that all of the spacing that goes into all of our paragraphs is based around our grid increment, which is 12.

So we need to think in units of 12, 24, 36. Occasionally we may need to half that and go to 6, and that's okay, things will resolve themselves after two lines that have an extra 6 points applied to them. You may be thinking this sounds rather restrictive, and in some ways it is. Working with the grid, we are imposing constraints upon ourselves, but at the same time, the grid is very liberating because we know where to place things on the page.

We know that if we need to scale images, we can size an image like so, and the aspect ratio of that image is going to be very like a photographic aspect ratio, so the cropping of the image will be sympathetic to the image content. And we can easily scale it and have it lock to our grid increments, and when necessary we can crop or adjust the size of the frame, snapping to those grid increments. Ultimately, it's going to give us a very ordered, very structured, very rhythmic layer, especially useful when working with picture heavy layouts like this, where we can make sure that the spacing between all the different elements is consistent.

Now, working with type on a baseline grid can present some frustrations, so let's in the next movie look at some of the problems that can arise.

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This video is part of

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InDesign Typography

107 video lessons · 19822 viewers

Nigel French
Author

 
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  1. 4m 4s
    1. Welcome
      55s
    2. Using the exercise files
      51s
    3. Customizing the workspace for type
      2m 18s
  2. 55m 41s
    1. Working with text frames
      8m 26s
    2. Using a primary text frame (CS6 only)
      3m 59s
    3. Understanding text flow methods
      6m 25s
    4. Understanding text threads
      3m 40s
    5. Understanding Smart Text Reflow
      2m 27s
    6. Mocking up pages with placeholder text
      5m 47s
    7. Placing multiple text files
      3m 50s
    8. Using Auto-Size text frames (CS6 only)
      4m 1s
    9. Copying and pasting vs. placing
      2m 25s
    10. Cleaning up text with Find/Change
      5m 46s
    11. Using the Story Editor
      3m 41s
    12. Spanning columns
      5m 14s
  3. 45m 50s
    1. Choosing your type
      6m 46s
    2. Understanding text essentials
      6m 37s
    3. Scaling type
      2m 27s
    4. Using italic and oblique type
      4m 33s
    5. Working with condensed and extended type
      4m 26s
    6. Setting type in all caps
      3m 46s
    7. Setting type in small caps
      4m 21s
    8. Underlining type
      4m 11s
    9. Using superscript and subscript
      4m 35s
    10. Applying baseline shift
      4m 8s
  4. 16m 6s
    1. Understanding type anatomy
      3m 25s
    2. Exploring serif and sans serif
      2m 48s
    3. Comparing points, picas, and ems
      8m 34s
    4. What's in a name?
      1m 19s
  5. 16m 27s
    1. Setting leading
      4m 56s
    2. Avoiding auto-leading
      4m 12s
    3. Leading shortcuts and preferences
      4m 7s
    4. Using autoleading with inline graphics
      3m 12s
  6. 21m 25s
    1. Defining kerning and tracking
      2m 5s
    2. Understanding kerning methods
      5m 10s
    3. When and how to kern
      5m 53s
    4. When and how to track
      8m 17s
  7. 45m 48s
    1. Working with quotes, primes, and apostrophes
      8m 16s
    2. Using dashes
      5m 24s
    3. Using ellipses
      2m 56s
    4. Working with accents and special characters
      4m 1s
    5. Using space characters
      4m 15s
    6. Working with ligatures
      4m 29s
    7. Setting fractions
      3m 56s
    8. Using lining and proportional numerals
      2m 49s
    9. Using alternates, swashes, and ornaments
      5m 2s
    10. Working with optical sizes
      4m 40s
  8. 57m 20s
    1. Understanding alignment
      3m 47s
    2. Working with left-aligned type
      3m 24s
    3. Working with justified type
      7m 5s
    4. Using Optical Margin Alignment
      3m 39s
    5. Determining column width
      4m 53s
    6. Working with center alignment
      5m 36s
    7. Working with right alignment
      1m 22s
    8. Aligning to or away from the spine
      1m 50s
    9. Understanding the Paragraph Composer and Single-line Composer
      3m 44s
    10. Combining alignments
      9m 20s
    11. Using hanging punctuation
      2m 13s
    12. Working with vertical alignment
      10m 27s
  9. 14m 9s
    1. Using first-line indents
      2m 26s
    2. Using indent alternatives
      2m 3s
    3. Working with left and right indents
      4m 0s
    4. Using last-line indents and outdents
      1m 26s
    5. Using paragraph spacing
      4m 14s
  10. 23m 19s
    1. Setting hyphenation
      6m 14s
    2. Working with line breaks and discretionary hyphens
      4m 48s
    3. Balancing ragged lines
      1m 36s
    4. Using the No Break feature and non-breaking characters
      2m 52s
    5. Using frame, column, and page breaks
      3m 42s
    6. Defining Keep Options
      4m 7s
  11. 37m 53s
    1. Understanding tabs
      8m 58s
    2. Considerations for table text
      3m 55s
    3. Table tips and tricks
      11m 55s
    4. Creating a bulleted list
      6m 50s
    5. Creating a numbered list
      3m 46s
    6. Creating a multi-level numbered list
      2m 29s
  12. 23m 12s
    1. Understanding drop caps
      11m 3s
    2. Navigating tricky drop caps
      5m 14s
    3. Using a nested character style with a drop cap
      3m 59s
    4. Other uses of drop caps
      2m 56s
  13. 1h 11m
    1. Understanding paragraph and character styles
      7m 13s
    2. Creating, applying, and editing styles
      7m 3s
    3. Removing overrides
      4m 58s
    4. Creating and applying character styles
      5m 4s
    5. Creating and applying nested styles
      12m 30s
    6. Using GREP styles (regular expressions)
      4m 8s
    7. Creating and applying sequential styles
      6m 19s
    8. Using paragraph rules creatively
      11m 48s
    9. Mapping Word styles
      6m 12s
    10. Working with anchored objects and object styles
      6m 24s
  14. 25m 30s
    1. Applying a text wrap
      6m 7s
    2. Making items ignore a text wrap
      1m 46s
    3. Using text wraps for flexible layouts
      3m 2s
    4. Working with difficult text wraps
      8m 39s
    5. Inverting text wraps
      2m 7s
    6. Setting text wrap preferences
      3m 49s
  15. 29m 33s
    1. Choosing a page size and setting margins
      6m 33s
    2. Setting up columns
      2m 53s
    3. Dividing a page into rows
      3m 27s
    4. Setting up a baseline grid
      5m 40s
    5. Handling baseline grid problems
      3m 37s
    6. Baseline grid tricks
      7m 23s
  16. 12m 19s
    1. Looking at screen documents
      4m 2s
    2. Setting size, leading, and line length onscreen
      3m 13s
    3. Exploring typefaces designed for the screen
      3m 36s
    4. Accessibility: Contrast and color
      1m 28s
  17. 28s
    1. Goodbye
      28s

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