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putting it all together
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WORKING WITH GRIDS
The Grid System All design work involves
problem solving on both visual and orga-
nizational levels. Pictures, fields of text,
headlines, and tabular data: all these pieces
must come together to communicate.
A grid is an organizational framework of
vertical and horizontal axes that may be
used to govern alignment and proportional
relationships among such elements—and
it is simply one approach to achieving this
goal. Grids can be loose and organic or
they can be rigorous and mechanical.
Among other things, a grid is suited to
helping solve communication problems of
great complexity. The benefits of working
with a grid are simple: clarity, efficiency,
economy, and continuity. Before anything
else, a grid introduces systematic order to a
layout, helps distinguish between various
types of information, and eases a user’s
navigation through them. Using a grid
permits a designer to lay out enormous
amounts of information in substantially
less time because many design consider-
ations have been addressed in building the
grid’s structure. The grid also allows many
individuals to collaborate on the same
project or on a series of related projects
over time, without compromising estab-
lished visual qualities from one instance to
the next.
To some designers, the grid
represents an inherent part of
the craft of designing, the same
way joinery in furniture making
is a part of that particular craft.
The history of the grid has been
part of an evolution in how
graphic designers think about
designing, as well as a response
to specific communication and
production problems that needed
to be solved. Although grids may
seem overtly intellectual and
mathematical, the notion of this
structural approach grows quite
organically from the nature of
typographic form. At its most fun-
damental level, type is a system
of vertical lines (these being
the primary element of all the
letters in the Western alphabet).
Sequenced side by side to form
words, and then sentences, the
verticals form a horizontal line.
Stacking horizontal sentences
below each other creates a new
vertical line—the column—and
columns appearing side by side
establish yet another horizontal
structure.
The typography, images,
and graphic elements are
arranged across a structure
of four columns. The grid
structure creates unity
and flexibility among the
material, helping to accom-
modate various amounts
or mixtures of content and
allowing the designer to lay
out the content in variations
so that the sequence of pages
won’t become monotonous.
The resulting negative
spaces, as well as the type,
appear interrelated because
they all are based on the
same proportions.
LSD SPAIN
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