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Take the guesswork out of your InDesign layouts. Whether it's a business card, a poster, or a book, your design will look better if you use a grid. Join designer Nigel French as he takes you through a brief history of grids—why you should use them and when you should break them. He'll show you how to establish margins and columns, set up a layout grid, and how to fit text to a baseline grid. Plus, learn how to break the grid for graphic effect and experiment with different types of grids like 5- or 7-column layouts and radial grids.
Because of the odd number of columns, a seven column grid is particularly dynamic and flexible. It allows for two text columns of three units, plus a caption or a white space column of a single unit. Or three text columns of two units with a single unit caption or white space column. Where it gets interesting is when you vary the position of this caption or white space column. Here are some things to keep in mind when working with a seven column grid.
If you want to vary the position of this caption or white space column, then you are going to need to use threaded text frames, as opposed to a single text frame divided up here into multiple columns. Which in other situations may be more convenient, but here each of these is a single column text frame that has been threaded to the other text frames in the text flow. And that's going to mean that I can then select this frame. Maybe move it here and then select the caption frame and move that here.
And we can very this from spread to spread to get more mileage from our seven columns. A second thing to bear in mind, and especially when using three text columns as we see on this spread. Make sure that your combination of page size, margin size, and type size allows for columns that are wide enough for at least 40 characters. Now you can check the number of characters per line using the info panel. And, we can see here, I'm slightly coming in less than the ideal of 40 on some of those lines.
So, I think I'm just about going to get a way with it here. But, in order to have as many as character per line as I do. And, it's pretty borderline. I've had to do the following. I've had to decrease the size of the margins. Compare the size of the margins here to those here. I've also had to decrease the size of the body text. I've gone from 9.5 to 9 point. And, I'm using a relatively condensed typeface.
Here, I'm using Adobe Garamond Pro. One other thing to consider and this is actually going to give you less characters per line, so it is intention with that point that I just made. And that is, that because of the odd number of columns and the asymmetric nature of a seven column grid, you might prefer to have your text left-aligned, as I have here, as opposed to justified. But that really comes down to a personal choice.
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