History of the Baseline Grid?

cowpiesurprise's picture

Okay, potentially stupid question: Does anyone know the history of the use of the baseline grid? Is it something that has been in use throughout the history of typography, or just something that was popularized by programs like Quark and InDesign, which make its implementation easy? I've read numerous books on typography, design, and their related histories, and none of them make any mention of baseline grid at all. Google only seems to turn up tutorials for page layout software.

If anyone could enlighten me or point me in the direction of enlightenment, I'd be very grateful.

Alessandro Segalini's picture

I think you can refer to paleography.

hrant's picture

I assume you mean the baseline... line.
In my view, it was the Romans, in a break from Ancient Greece (who generally preferred a centerline "around" which the letters would float), who standardized the double lines (baseline and cap-height) within which everything (except the ideologically vestigal "Q") must fit, snell!


timd's picture

I remember drawing baseline grids for specifying type on and for "greeking", you could buy pre-printed sheets with light blue grids (so the camera couldn't pick them up) to use for paste-up (large publications had batches printed up).

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