Identifying typographic grids

Manuscript with insets and captions
2 column left, 3 column right with images
one column left with images and captions, 3 column right with images
3 column left, 6 column right; images span multiple columns in both layouts
modern manuscript, includes commentary on left.
3 column left and right, left contains title block, right image spans 3 columns

Thinking about grids

  • What is a grid?  A grid is an organizational tool meant to distribute content in a meaningful way on a page. It does so by breaking a space into regular units, allowing content to be placed in a blocked space.
  • What are margins and why are they important?  Margins are the space between the edge of the page and the start of the nearest text. They are important because they allow pages to breath; they act to promote the text which lies on the page above the ground created by the margin.
  • Which sample design do you like best from this chapter? Why? The Zahn-Nopper store identity is my favorite example in the Grid chapter. The main layout utilizes a modular grid, and is effective in utilizing the rotationally symmetric Z and N to promote the brand. The five by five grid is only broken by the name of the store. Additionally, the playing off of the Z and N to create a frame in the other promotional materials has a home in my heart.
  • What grid(s) are used to layout the “Grid” chapter of this book? The layout of this chapter is primarily a two column grid, with the inner column being narrow, leaving space for commentary or captions, and the main column containing most of the copy. Each text page has a quote which sometimes falls into one or both of the columns. In single pages with images, the main asymmetrical grid persists. In spreads with one large image that exists on both pages, the grid is reversed, with the narrow column moving to the outside of the page.
  • What type of grid is best for simple documents? Simple documents can be made complicated with a fancy, modular grid. Or, the simple nature of the document can be emphasized by a simple, one column grid. The “best” grid for a simple document thus depends on the intent of the designer. By breaking the document into chunks, a modular grid can provide hierarchy and additional visual interest. However, if the message is straight forward, a direct one column approach might better match the intent of the copy.

Tracing grids

facebook newsfeed tracingfacebook not-traced.
facebook newsfeed with overlaid grid
facebook not-traced.

Facebook is meant to keep us clicking. The active grid attempts to capture the 3 second attention span of users.

A spread in a magazine, traced to determine the grid

The magazine layout has a 2 and 3 column layout on the left page. On the right page, the complexity is balanced out by a few large, simply organized elements.

Resume and business card final

Paired Business Card

The resume is intended to be viewed by both technical and non-technical viewers. The typefaces, Futura and Bodoni, are chosen to compliment eachother. Both are geometric in nature, Futura has very little variation in weight, but Bodoni has a huge variation in thicks and thins.

The red dot on the i is meant to act as a graphic, distinguishing element. It will reproduce well in grayscale, with similar effect.

The name element was transferred, with some slight modification to kerning and size, to the business card.

Business card rough draft

Business Cards ready for printing

The business cards take the name element from the final version of the resume, and add only contact information. I chose to use Futura, exclusively in lowercase, matching the name.

Resume rough draft

Resume set in Futura and Didot

I chose Futura as a clean, modern sans. I set it in all caps for category headings with a wide track. A bold weight was used for emphasis throughout the document. Ornstein,, workplaces, etc. were set in bold Futura for emphasis, followed by a light future (or in the case of the title, preceded by the light variant). Didot was chosen for the body text as a compliment of the geometric sans – a geometric serif with wide variation in thicks and thins to the very constant weight of Futura.

All of Futura (not including the title) is is set in 10pt. Didot is all 9pt.

Typographic Hierarchy (part 5)



This is the final version of the poster, post-critique. I decided to alter the color, the scale of the titles, and the placement of some of the text. The overall goal was to minimize clutter, and increase the variation between what used to be similarly-styled elements.

The positive critique comments indicated that the layout was interesting and effective.

Negative comments picked out colors that matched too closely (since eliminated) and too subtle variation in text weights/size. This has been adjusted aswell.

The final result is clean, and holds onto the strong aspects of the old design. The change in color was meant to better match the modernity of ‘computational’ work, and is reminiscent of computer interfaces, while the golden color was not.

Typographic Hierarchy (part 4)

The first composition is the most conservative of the three. Just a splash of color on the School of Design. The contrast between the gold and the white is low enough compared to the white background that the words don’t draw too much attention, but the glint of color makes the composition a bit more lively.

The gold bars at the top and bottom of this competition are meant to encapsulate the important text. The effect being strived for here is that the bar is in fact continuous across the entire page.The third layout brings the title outside the bounds of the page, increasing its effective size. The “School of Design 2011 Lecture Series” text is rotated and lightened to abstract the words and diminish literal meaning. The text indicating the location of the events is minimized to indicate lowest level of hierarchy.

These compositions make use a simple color palette throughout. The golden color is indicative of the fall, and the blacks and grays provide high contrast on the page.