Grids: Design Refinement

Original design

Above is my chosen design for the specification ‘Text with: 1-2 large images including captions’. I have chosen this design for my final outcome however it still needs refinement, on the right hand side there is a large amount of negative space which needs balancing. Below are a series of screenshots where I am experimenting with how I can best use the negative space.

Stepping the heading from the body text

Moving the elements to a more central position on the grid to balance the negative space

Balancing the body text in the bottom left with the heading in the top right

Balancing the heading and body text in the bottom left with a grey block of colour in the top right, however the block of colour ends up being distracting

Attempting to balance the body text in the bottom left with the heading in the top right however the layout is more awkward than balance

Using a small grey solid block of colour in the top right containing the folio to balance the heading and body text in the bottom left, once again the solid block of colour is distracting

Mimicking the tones in the photograph on the left with the heading and body text on the right, through altering the orientation of the heading

Below is my chosen design from my above experimentations. In this design I have moved the body text and caption from the bottom right to the bottom centre, helping to close up the negative space. I have also moved the heading to the top right, in line with the statues head on the left, in an attempt to balance the composition on the right sheet with the composition on the left sheet. Furthermore I changed the title in order to make it longer and add more tonal colour to the page. Finally I added a block of colour to the right hand sheet to reduce the harshness of the bright white paper, the colour I choose was selected from the photograph on the right and then reduced to 40% opacity to mute the colour so that it did not compete with the photograph on the left.

Grids: Development

After creating my 10 thumbnails sketches on both the Muller Brockman grid and the Karl Gerstner’s 58 unit grid I decided that the grid I preferred using was the one created by Karl Gernster as the grid allows for alot of creativity and freedom. From my 10 drawn thumbnails for this grid, I began to develop these designs digitally within the grid template.

For my layout designs I used content based around an article I found on It’s Nice That, the article is about a new series of work being produced by the photographer Catherine Hyland. From this article I took the main body text as well as the information on the author of the article and when the article was wrote.

‘Photographer Catherine Hyland has been travelling the mountainous landscapes of China and Mongolia to capture its vast, yet eerily empty tourist destinations. In her ongoing series Universal Experience, which she will continue to add to, she explores scenes of epic beauty that have been developed to become tourist destinations. Tackling themes of nostalgia and abandonment, she hopes to capture the intertwining of natural beauty and the artificially engineered viewpoints from which people choose to remember it by.

“The aim is to shine a light on both the strange and sublime nature of these spaces,” Catherine says. “Giant Buddhas that exist in small desolate villages in rural China, and expansive mountainscapes with barely any visitors. Whether it’s sites of historical importance or natural splendour each is approached with a heightened awareness of its significance as a place of beauty and grandeur. Landscape is seen primarily as a cultural construct and only secondarily as a natural phenomenon.”

Catherine’s large-format photographs, shot on film, show the awesome landscapes together with their barren tourist-targeting additions, contrasting the natural and man-made elements. The dusty mountainous shots are particularly striking, with their gradated colours and uniformly dusty tones.

Words by Jenny Brewer,

I then went on to the photographers own website and saved all of the photographs from the series mentioned in the article, this gave me a wide range of imagery to work with in my layout designs. When deciding upon what content to use for my layout designs I specifically choose to focus on photography, this is because the final spreads will be printed at A3, therefore I wanted access to high resolution imagery that would still maintain their quality when increased in size.

For our layout designs we had to produce 3 final outcomes each with different specifications:

  • Text (body copy) with: 1 – 2 large images including captions
  • Text (body copy) with: 3 – 5 medium sized images including captions
  • Text (body copy) with: 3 – 5 small sized images including captions

The text must also include a major title to the spread plus main headings and subheadings, as well as page numbers. Graphic devices such as typographic rules, shapes and symbols could also be included.

Below are my 12 digital developed designs (4 per specification)

Text with: 1-2 large images including captions: Design 1

Text with: 1-2 large images including captions: Design 2

Text with: 1-2 large images including captions: Design 3

Text with: 1-2 large images including captions: Design 4

Text with: 3-5 medium sized images including captions: Design 1

Text with 3-5 medium sized images including captions: Design 2

Text with 3-5 medium sized images including captions: Design 3

Text with 3-5 medium sized images including captions: Design 4

Text with 3-5 small sized images including captions: Design 1

Text with 3-5 small sized images including captions: Design 2

Text with 3-5 small sized images including captions: Design 3

Text with 3-5 small sized images including captions: Design 4

Despite me basing my layout designs on the article wrote by It’s Nice That, in some of my designs I did choose to use dummy text. In some of my layouts I wanted to include larger amounts of body text however the original article is quite short, therefore I replaced the article text with placeholder text generated by Adobe InDesign.

From my 4 developed designs for each specification I believe that the most successful was design 1 for the large sized images, design 1 for the medium sized images and design 3 for the small sized images, however I do believe further refinements could be made. Design 1 for the large sized images the right side of the spread is too empty, therefore the addition of another image, graphic devices or altering the layout on the right could aid the design.

Grids: Karl Gernstner’s 58 Unit Grid a.k.a the Capital Grid

Karl Gernstner’s 58 unit grid

“The basic unit is 10 points; the size of the basic typeface including the lead. The text and picture area are divided at the same time into one, two, three, four, five and six columns. There are 58 units along the whole width. This number is a logical one when there are always two units between the columns. That is: it divides in every case without a remainder: with two columns the 58 units are composed of 2 x 28 + 2 (space between columns); with 3 columns 3 x 18 + 2 x 2; with 4 columns 4 x 13 + 3 x 2; with 5 columns 5 x 10 + 4 x 2; with 6 columns 6 x 8 + 5 x 2 10—point units.” – https://www.rototype.org/

Examples of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 column layout using the capital grid

Grids: Page Layout Research

Brief: To develop an understanding of the use of grid systems in graphic design and to develop and awareness of spacial arrangement, structure, harmony and graphic coherence.

Part 1: Produce mood sheets of visual research relating to grid systems and master grids. Include technical advice and sensitive and refined graphic design page layouts.

Part 2: Produce thumbnail double spread sketches based on Joseph Muller-Brockman’s master grid and Karl Gerstner’s 58 unit grid. 

Part 3: Create 3 different double page spread designs using the same material and the master grids provided. The first spread should consist of text with 1-2 large images including captions, the second spread should consists of text with 3-5 medium images including captions, and finally the third spread should consists of text with 3-5 small images including captions. 

To begin this project I visited a number of sites to collect research on publication and layout design, some of the sites visited included Behance, It’s Nice That and Creative Review. Below are a series of mood sheets I produced documenting my finds.

Designs I found myself particularly drawn to were ones where images or text would go right up to the edge of the page, text and images would be printed going across the two pages, text had being overlaid on top of an image, layouts playing with the orientation of top, and layouts where not all the elements were perfectly aligned. I would like to incorporate some of these features when it comes to producing my thumbnail double page spread sketches.