A grid is a concept in graphic design used for organizing content. It is a structure composed of a series of straight or curved lines. These lines can be vertical, horizontal, or angular. The goal of using a grid is to ensure design elements line up nicely.
How to Use the Grid in Your Designs
When you’re creating a design with many elements, the grid helps you keep them evenly spaced apart. Objects should line up vertically and horizontally and at right angles where possible.
Even though a grid sounds rigid, there is a lot of room for flexibility. You can divide a grid’s sections into margins, flowlines, modules, columns, spatial zones, gutters, and markers.
The five main types of grid layouts are:
- Manuscript grids: This layout is excellent for magazines, newspapers, pdfs, ebooks, and other text-based designs.
- Hierarchical grids: These grids organize content based on the level of importance. Within this layout, individual modules may have a manuscript or freestyled design.
- Column grids: In this layout style, columns organize content to increase readability. Examples of this grid pattern include academic textbooks and newspapers.
- Baseline grids: Improves readability for designs with lots of text. This layout leaves even space between headings and body text. The baseline consists of parallel, horizontal lines that create consistency in your design.
- Modular grids: This grid contains rows and columns with equal-sized modules. You’ll usually see this style on eCommerce websites. It organizes elements for designs where a column grid isn’t enough.
When Is It Ok to Break the Grid Rules?
Of course, some very successful designs break a few of these rules. Yet, your best bet is to follow the grid rules first. Once you have a firm understanding of the grid rules, then you can consider breaking them. But even rule-breaking designs should still have some elements of the grid.
In general, following the grid rules is the most reliable way to make an eye-catching design.
The grid enhances designs and artwork by:
- Keeping content organized
- Making design-time more efficient
- Increasing readability of the text with baseline alignment
- Improving multi-page cohesiveness
- Helping balance designs
- Creating a visual hierarchy
- Increasing design flexibility
- Producing effective whitespace