- Book grids were almost uniformly symmetrical until the 1920's when several typographers began exploring asymmetry as an option. This broke away from the centered axis structure and created a more modern and dynamic grid. The result was a divide in book design between the traditional book makers and young graphic artists advocating a new way of designing. An asymmetrical grid is more complex than a symmetrical grid. There will be several columns and more hanglines.
The pages don't mirror each other, they are duplicates. Unlike a fiction book that requires a single column, an asymmetrical grid is good for a book with more complex information such as diagrams, images, sidebars, and types of copy. This grid has more to do with real estate than a center grid. The page is divided in to regions. Text, images, captions, and headlines are placed in the same place from page to page.
This helps the reader understand the content. It provides a consistent road map that would be convoluted with only one symmetrical column. The type of graphic variables are the same with all grids. Don't exceed the 52 character line length, and work with compatible type sizes. Maybe it's because I worked with metal type for a long time, but I stick with real sizes like 8 or 9 pt. Stay away from sizes like 8.235 pt.
Once you start using odd fractional sizes, the relationships between sizes falls apart, and the grid will seem awkward. Since there are so may options with an asymmetrical grid, maintain consistency with placement once you've landed on a solution. Use the grid to define where and how large each type of information is. Like symmetrical grids, aymmetrical grids rely on consistent proportions to work.
The grid locks all of the different elements in place. The result is a book that can contain complicated information, but be accessible and clear.
- Why grids and proportions?
- The elements of a grid
- The types of grids
- Designing a master grid
- Asymmetrical vs. symmetrical grids
- Working with column and modular grids
- Managing multiple grids
- Designing posters with a grid
- Using grids in other design projects