Laying Out the Grid-ping Tips

In creating a blog, it is important to have a general understanding of graphic design to know the stylistic morals, that is rights and wrongs, of the blogosphere. As a continuation of last time’s post, I will look into the next two chapters of The 7 Essentials of Graphic Design which will explain the purposes of Layout and Grid Systems.


grid,newspaper,typography,graphicdesign,gridsystem,layout-667b9515076eb1682c23b80a1adcc882_hLast week when I discussed contrast and the visual hierarchy, I used an ENO company bumper sticker to explain the various elements of branding pointing out the importance of each piece. This chapter, Allison Goodman breaks up the Elements of a Clear Hierarchy into a fivefold system.

  1. Visual Contrast: As discussed last week, this is the breakup of visual elements throughout a design. The visual context is provided by size, value, weight, white space, position, figure/ground, texture, and color.
  2. Symmetrical & Asymmetrical Balance: Everything in art is deliberate. The designer or artist thought everything through before finishing the piece. Such is seen in symmetry. Symmetry is easy to see and it’s importance is understandable. Symmetry can be used to highlight a certain point or piece. Asymmetry is less passive and more deliberate. We must assume that designers took these elements into account in their design, so if the piece is asymmetrical, there is a reason.
  3. Sequencing or visual rhythm: This point is all about dynamics. The most important part of entertainment is to not let the viewer become bored or to let yourself become predictable. Changing sizes or mixing things up keep the viewer interested.
  4. Depth: Since graphic design happens on a flat surface, it is important to create definition, whether this is through foreground and background dynamics, or the use of color and contrast. This point also ties into visual rhythm. You have to keep the viewers interested.
  5. Implied Space: The implied space is the understood continuation or existence of a piece off the page. One can achieve implied space by repetition or allowing a piece to bleed off the page.
An example of asymmetry and implied space

Goodman also goes into the seven rules of sketching, to prepare for one’s ideation phase. While this is important, I don’t feel that I need to copy the information for you all. The sketching process should be a personal experience in expanding one’s idea. Once you need to refine your work, then it would be helpful to look into the element hierarchy rules.

Grid Systems

New York Times using grids
New York Times using grids

Just as a writer organizes their ideas into paragraphs, so does a graphic designer with grids. Even though at the end, the grids are invisible, they are helpful for organizing brochures, books, magazines, and newspapers. Some artists may think that grids hinder the artistic experience, since the point of art is to freely express one’s mind, but since graphic designers are often commissioned by other’s for a specific purpose, there needs to be a guideline to allow creative variation later and a plan in the piece, much like an outline for an essay, or a blueprint for a building.


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