.ddx

pinto luego existo

C’mon baby, kiss my grids!

Good morning, class! Let’s take our seats! Who here hasn’t heard of grids in design? Naughty, naughty!

Basically, a grid system is a series of vertical and horizontal axes used to structure content on a medium – from sculpture to new media. The less common printing term “reference grid,” is an unrelated system with roots in the early days of printing.
A number of graphic designers (including Max Bill, Emil Ruder, and Josef Müller-Brockmann), influenced by the modernist ideas of Jan Tschichold’s Die neue Typographie (The New Typography), began to question the relevance of the conventional page layout of the time. They began to devise a flexible system able to help designers achieve coherency in organizing the page. The result was the modern typographic grid that became associated with the International Typographic Style. The seminal work on the subject, Grid systems in graphic design by Müller-Brockmann, helped propagate the use of the grid, first in Europe, and later in North America.

“ The grid system is an aid, not a guarantee. It permits a number of possible uses and each designer can look for a solution appropriate to his personal style. But one must learn how to use the grid; it is an art that requires practice. ”
Josef Müller-Brockmann

During the mid 1970s instruction of the typographic grid as a part of graphic design curricula had become standard in Europe, North America and much of Latin America. The graphic style of the grid was adopted as a look for corporate communication. In the early 1980s, a reaction against the entrenchment of the grid, particularly its dogmatic use, and association with corporate culture, resulted in some designers rejecting its use in favor of more organic structure. The typographic grid continues to be taught today, but more as a useful tool for some projects, not as a requirement or starting point for all page design. Even though I say that every designer should make use of it.


I found some intriguing information about how Tibetan Buddhists use geometric grids in order to maintain consistency in drawing religious iconography on the website of John Dilworth. I would love to find out more about this.

An interesting and useful resource for all you lazy-asses: The Grid Calculator.


Also, New York Times design director Khoi Vinh used the typographic grid in the design of that publication’s online version, and wrote an article about the process.

Do you use grids in your layouts?

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Filed under: brockmann, buddha, flexible, grids

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