The Grid

guest's picture

I'm wondering if it's still common to build horizontal page structure based on increments of a strict grid sub-unit, or do most people simply decide on the margins, number of columns and gutter size and let the columns fall as they may?

Thanks for your help.

guest's picture

anyone? anyone?

JamesM's picture

Not sure I understand what you mean by "columns fall as they may". When you pick margins, number of columns, etc. you are determining precisely where the columns will be.

guest's picture

thanks, James,

yes, but they won't fall on even, pre-established grid units, for instance, 12 point gutters and columns in multiples of 12 points. I personally don't see that this is a problem, but I have heard of people referring to this as the way a real grid is built.

aluminum's picture

A grid is meant to provide some form of consistent pattern to the flow of the layout. If you're asking if you can just put stuff wherever you want, then sure. Though that's not a grid, then. That's just putting stuff wherever. ;)

If you are asking if grids are still popular, then 'yes'. They're a core tool in the graphic designer's toolbox.

guest's picture

I'm not asking either of those things. I'm asking if there is any value to placing horizontal grid modules squarely on increments derived from a base unit (such as the baseline grid)

JamesM's picture

So, for example, if your baselines are 12 points apart, does each column need be a multiple of 12 points wide? Is that what you're asking?

I guess my viewpoint is that grids are essential for adding structure to a layout, but since the reader isn't going to pull out a ruler and measure everything, it ultimately comes down to how it looks.

If your mathematically precise grid looks great, then use it. But if you're trying to use a 12 point grid but the columns look better if they are 15 points apart, then go with what looks better, as long as you're consistent about it.

guest's picture

thanks, that was what I was asking. I had an exchange with someone who said a grid isn't as fundamentally solid or sound if you don't lock the horizontal divisions onto increments of a base unit, but my feeling is that that's kind of arbitrary, given that there's no equivalent of a baseline grid that the eye looks to align to

Mugford's picture

I've always thought it'd be a good idea for InDesign to have more options on their margins/columns/gutter setup dialog. As it stands you can choose the margin and gutter size and number of columns, and you get whatever column width fits. It might be useful to be able to choose, say, column and gutter width and number of columns and either right or left margin and have it calculate the other margin for you (or choose margins and column width and have it calculate the gutter width for you). At least that way you wouldn't be doing math with a pencil on the back of an envelope to get the column width you want.

Sometimes I use guides instead, and draw my column text boxes to those. I'm no expert though.

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