5 Replies Latest reply on Jun 21, 2012 4:10 AM by jdpetty

    Please help me grid this

    dwaynie Level 1



      I'm working on this simple A4 landscape poster basically saying "adobe.com/indesign" with big letters in the middle of the page, and a small footer at the bottom saying "Modern marvel". But I'm having a hard time coming up with a nice grid for it. Preferably this grid should follow the golden ratio as closely as possible.


      At The Complex Grid I got as far as finding the number of lines I needed. 4 lines would be perfect - lines 2 and 3 could contain my text, and lines 1 and 4 could form the surrounding space. But {4-(2-1)}/2 didn't add up - only {5-(2-1)}/2 did - and I have no idea how to make it work with 5 lines.


      What should I do?





        • 1. Re: Please help me grid this
          John Danek Level 4

          This sounds like a school assignment.  Sometimes you have to dump the grid and use your own sense of design and proportion.  It also sounds like you are constricted to "forcing" the elements into a pre-fab grid system.  I take it as almost a trick question.  Here's what I would do.  Forget the computer.  Do a few sketch layouts in real space ( i.e., a few sheets of copy paper ).  Perhaps work in a border or a couple of strong rules ( lines ).  Let the text and the typography do the work for you.  Perhaps take a look at different fonts and where you might use them for a balanced look.  You have plenty of white space, so use it to your advantage.  Grids are great for some things, not so great for others.  Use your design ability to solve this one.

          • 2. Re: Please help me grid this
            dwaynie Level 1

            Well, the thing is, this poster is gonna be hung up at a public space where the design standards are very high, I don't want anybody to go "ooh look, he doesn't know how to use grids". Especially not Wim Crouwel, who is known to frequent around these parts.


            The ungridded design is done though (using the font that's in the corporate profile of this public space), after all the idea is very simple, so I didn't struggle with that part.


            But I want to use a grid, and I want it to be based on the golden ratio, kinda like this InDesign grid, except adapted for my layout. Any idea though?

            • 3. Re: Please help me grid this

              I agree with John. I feel that forcing the minimal amount of text matter that you seem to have into a complex grid is, as they say, over-egging the pudding.


              That doesn't help you much though does it? So, in my younger days, I was working in the print trade in the UK when the International Paper Sizes (A sizes) were introduced to replace the old British Standard sizes.


              The A paper sizes are root 2 rectangles (if the short side is 1, the long side is equal to the square root of 2 [roughly 1.4] or put another way, the long side is the diagonal of a square of the short side). It's not precisely Golden Ratio but it's close. One technique commonly used at the time was to exploit this relationship between the square and the A sizes by using the square of the short side (either from the top or the bottom) to divide the space. A variation on the theme is to use a circle (a circular picture/illustration/pattern for example) instead of a square.


              In the illustration, 1 shows the basic divisions, upper and lower. In 2 the root 2 rectangle is divided using the upper square; the remaining area at the bottom comprises a square (a) and another root 2 rectangle (b). Area b can also be divided in a similar manner. These divisions were used to determine placement of and/or sizing/cropping of the elements of the design. The circle within the square is indicated by c.


              That said, I would reinforce John's remarks about forcing things into a strict grid for the sake of it. Good design is hand, heart, eye and brain. The danger here is that you end up with all brain and no heart.



              • 4. Re: Please help me grid this
                dwaynie Level 1

                I got the same problem with trying to grid my A4 Ph.D. thesis in InDesign. I have no idea how to design a grid out of the complex specifications you just gave me.


                I tried asking a similar question over at Stack Overflow but all the answers were TeX specific.


                I know this ain't a job board - but is there any chance I could hire you to create some sort of golden ratio A4 grid for InDesign?

                • 5. Re: Please help me grid this
                  jdpetty Level 1

                  dwaynie, I've looked at the InDesign grid link and I think it might be misleading you. It refers to ". . . using the Rule of Thirds (Golden Ratio)". These are two separate things; the rule of thirds simply states that when an area is divided into three, both vertically and horizontally, then those lines are pleasing divisions and where the lines cross are key points in the composition. It is a "rule" that can be used effectively in photography to help achieve more pleasing and/or dramatic compositions and it could be extended to apply to any page layout. I have never before heard the rule of thirds being equated to the Golden Ratio.


                  The twelve column grid shown in the link is very complex and, I would suggest, needs a fair degree of familiarity with working with grids to use it successfully. Without this the results are likely to be chaotic. I don't know what TeX is so I can't comment on that, but it seems to me that you are getting similar answers there dwaynie; why are you so set on the Golden Section?


                  As for my A4/root 2/square information, I was thinking of the poster you spoke of. So, the image (photo/drawing/illustration/whatever) would be fitted to the square, or circle if you wanted to go to the next step, and the text arranged in the lower area. Rather than simply arranging the text on the centre line, you might use the division formed by the square (a in diagram 2). So the main heading goes in area b and the supplementary text in area a. Or vice-versa. As I said previously, The International A sizes are root 2 rectangles which, in some ways, are similar to the Golden Section. But they are not Golden Section


                  I've watched the Wim Crouel link too and although he is talking about typeface design, there is a very brief view of some posters in the background which look to me as though they might well be using the root 2/square relationship outlined above. He also mentions Joseph Müller-Brockman who many would perhaps consider to be the master of grids. Have you looked at his work?


                  As for building a whole page grid on this, well, that was not the purpose of my diagrams. I suppose it would be possible but I would have to ask why? I really don't see what it would achieve and I still think it would be unnecessarily complicated. I repeat, why are you so set on using the Golden Section? Just use InDesign's margin and column set-up to create a simple grid of two/three/four columns as best fits your needs. You could include some horizontal guides (at thirds maybe?) to help with the sizing and placement of the material. And yes, I hear your comment about high standards of design but, using the Golden Section does not, in any way guarantee high standards; in fact using any type of grid at all does not guarantee high standards; it is just as possible to design rubbish to a grid as it is to design well to a grid. The grid should arise out of a careful study and analysis of the nature of the work—its content, its purpose, its audience. And, as John Danek stated, it is not a pre-fab system which you use to force the elements into.


                  Also, the other feedback you are getting, it seems to me, is that without knowing exactly what your copy is—that is the material you are writing/presenting—it is almost impossible to give precise advice. For example, I have used a simple two column grid in the past but with columns of different widths, but it was designed for a very specific use and wouldn't work for everything. And this type of grid has to be built manually using guides because InDesign's columns have to be of the same width.


                  I don't think that me designing a Golden Section grid for you is a realistic option for the reasons given above and I wouldn't want to take your money under false pretences.