Creative Publishing: Layout Design Research Cont.

(1) 113/15 By Erin Callaghan (2) Sports & Nascar by Baptiste Bernazeau (3) Lust by Fabian Franz (4) No 3 Oblique by Aris Zenone

(1) Pure Magazine by Futu Creative (2) Curador by Naranjo (3) Alter-Shelter by Studio Akronium (4) M-B / WORKS by Matleo Barbi


Semiotics: Aesthetics

AB by Aleix Font – Book exploring the themes of flirting and love. The photography features close ups making the images appear more personal and intimate. The focus is also on the body language instead of the people within the images.

Secrets of Body Language by Elizabeth Bitman – Close intimate crops of body language. Images overlap the text in places which draws attention to the images but also makes part of the text illegible.

OF LOVE by Saxon Campbell – A book exploring the theme of love. This book continues the trend of using close ups and closely cropped images to suggest intimacy.

Above is a range of research I did into books exploring the themes of love and flirtation, this was to look at how the topic was aesthetically conveyed. From my research it was very apparent that close up photography and closely cropped images helped to clearly convey intimacy and make the images appear more personal. Earlier in my project I began exploring proxemics through photography, I will now revisit photography to explore flirtation, however instead of using street photography I will be doing close up portraits.

Grids: Feedback and Improvements

In this group crit my designs were received well and I was praised for my bravery in attempting minimalist designs which are often hard to do well. The feedback I was give consisted a few minor changes. The text throughout all three designs needed to be reduced in size as the leading was very tight. Furthermore my first design (1-2 large images) needed a drop cap or another graphic device added to the right hand side page of the spread in order to add some visual interest. One major change that I did have to make was to redo my last design (3-5 small images), this was because the images were too small on the page and got lost in the empty space. For this design it was recommended that I looked at large scale photo books for inspiration.

To begin improving my designs I visited the library and collated a large body of research into layout design by photographing spread layouts from large scale photography magazines. The magazines pictured below include Foam, Source magazine, Parkett magazine, Art Review and American Destiny.

   I then revisited some of my previous designs for my 3-5 small images design.

The text handing down from the text creates an interesting layout on the left however the page on the right is too similar to the design for 3-5 medium images (seen above)

Breaking the grid on the right gives a refreshing break from the previous designs which all work within the confines of the grid, the image on the left page however may be too large for the 3-5 small images design

Final 1-2 large images design: A drop cap has been added to the body text, the body text has been reduced in size and the background colour has been made stronger to show up when printed as previously it was not visible when printed

Final design for 3-5 medium images: A faint colour has been added to the background to make the paper off white as the paper before was a very bright white

Final design for 3-5 small images: This layout is a combination of the two previous designs I was looking at. By breaking the grid on the right it ensure that the design is not too similar to my 3-5 medium images design, therefore giving the spreads flow and diversity. I have also included the text hanging from the image on the left which creates an interesting composition.


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.

Art of the Accident: Material Exploration

For my final outcome I have decided to produce a book juxtaposing the bright and vibrant photography of erosion and weathering at Brighton Beach with the industrial erosion found at Portslade. Within this book I want to include sections of acetate with imagery printed onto the sheets, this was inspired by the book o.T. designed by Unica T and featured in Experimental Formats.

“The ‘o.T.’ book was created by silkscreening abstract collages onto large sheets of rigid perspex, which were then cut down to the final page size. The resulting book forms a series of fragmented images that when bound together build up into a deep and complex whole, broken only by three divider or chapter pages printed in solid yellow.” 

The idea of building up layers of imagery suits my concept well as when objects erode and weather rust can build up layers on top, but also paint and materials can chip away revealing layers beneath, therefore the build up of imagery through a transparent material seems fitting.

Above I have begun to experiment with printing onto acetate. As acetate can only be printed on one side if I printed both pages of the spread normally the image on the right page of spread would be the wrong way round when the acetate was folded, therefore I discovered that before printing I had to horizontally flip the image on the right side of each spread. I also found that the acetate I was using was not transparent when folded and was instead foggy and misty, therefore higher quality acetate would need to be purchased for my final book.

As well as experimenting with printing onto acetate I also experimented with how acetate could be integrated into a book. The easiest way would be to bind single sheets together which could be done Japanese stab sewing, however in my book I want to include paper sheets with double page spreads containing full bleed images, therefore a perfect bound book would be more appropriate. A problem with this however is working out how to include both acetate and paper sheets in my book and how to order my content. As I also want to include full bleed images across spreads some of the pages within the book have to paper, therefore working out how to include both paper and acetate in a bound book was a difficult task.

After creating many mock ups I decided upon the structure above for my book. The plan above represents one section within my perfect bound book which consists of 2 sheets of paper with 2 sheets of acetate on top which is then folded in half, this equals 16 pages. The pale yellow in the plan represents pages made of paper and the pale blue represents pages made of acetate. The dark grey represents the back of the acetate which can’t be printed on due to the material being transparent. The bright yellow represents a page of paper that can’t have any imagery on, this is because that piece of paper would be visible through the acetate and would therefore interfere with the imagery printed onto the acetate. As I begin to organise my book content I can simply duplicate this plan to create more sections, therefore allowing more content to easily be added to my book.

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.” –

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

Grids: Technical Research

Grid Systems

Grid systems establish a set of guidelines for how elements should be positioned within a layout, this creates rhythm and defines the meter. Rhythm and meter are important as they allow the viewer to understand where the next piece of information lies within the layout, making the design accessible. It sets expectations and defines the rules. Breaking the grid is also important as it can be used to highlight specific areas of content. The viewer can identify where the grid has been broken and will naturally be drawn to those areas, this gives the design the opportunity to play with hierarchy of layout or change the meaning of the piece. A key aspect of the grid is to help define and determine proportion. In print proportions normally reflect the reflect the size, shape and orientation of the media. Reflection is not as important on the web and can be more fluid but grids can still be used to anchor content to the screen.


Margins and Columns

  • Margins and columns define the type area. The area within which most of the text and images will be contained. I have the department head, the folios and this image, all of which go outside of the type area. In the example below the department head, the folios and the bottom left image all go outside of the type area.

Layout Grid

  • The layout grid below was created using the Create Guides feature. The layout grid divides the type area into eight rows and 12 columns. By subdividing the page in this way, there is far more flexibility over how the image and text frames are sized which can create far more dynamic layouts.


  • Separating the rows and columns are gutters. The size of the gutters correlates with the size of the body text leading.

Grid Fields

  • The intersection of the rows and columns creates grid fields. The more grid fields there are the more flexibility however they can also create more visual clutter. 

Active Corner

  • When you place an element according to the grid field, generally speaking, it will be placed in the top left hand corner of the grid field. A notable exception is when a caption is put above an image, in which case it would be placed to the bottom of the grid field, as opposed to the top.

Baseline Grid

  • The baseline grid can be turned on with the keyboard shortcut. Cmd+Opt+’, it can also be turned on in your view options, or using the view menu and the baseline grid increment will correlate with the body text leading which in turn correlates with the gutter spacing.

Document Grid

  • To turn on the document grid, Cmd or Ctrl+’. The document grid will divide the page and your paste board into graph paper. The size of each of the grid squares and how many subdivisions they have can be determined in the preferences.

Grid types

Golden section –  Grid based on the golden ratio that has been used in Western art and architecture for more than 2000 years.

Single column grid – You can set your page dimensions and margin widths before creating your document (designing outside in) or you can create a document with no margins and place guidelines and guidelines onto the document (designing inside out). This allows you to experiment with margins and columns before committing.

Multicolumn grid – Flexible formats can be created for publications with complex hierarchies or that contain both text and images. The more columns the more flexible your grid becomes. The grid can be used to determine hierarchy in the publication and text or images can fill one column or span several. Hang lines can also be added, this is where vertical zones are added within the columns. For example, an area at the top can be reserved for images and captions and the body text can “hang” from a common line.

Modular grid – There are consistent horizontal divisions from top to bottom as well as vertical divisions from left to right. This dictates the placement and cropping of pictures as well as text.

Baseline grid – Horizontal guidelines are created in relation to a baseline grid which anchors all layout elements to a common rhythm. Choose the type size and leading of your text then create a baseline grid, use the line space increment to set the baseline grid in your document preferences.

Adjust the top or bottom page margin to absorb any space left over by the baseline grid. Determine the number of horizontal divisions, count how many lines fit into a full column of text and then choose a number that divides into the line count to create horizontal page divisions. If your line count is not neatly divisible, adjust the top and/or bottom page margins to absorb the leftover lines.

To style headlines, captions and other page elements, choose line spacing that works with the baseline grid. Where possible position all page elements in relation to the baseline grid, although some page layouts look better when you break the grid.

Grids Workshop

Exercise 1 – Proportion

 Josef Muller-Brockman and Dieter Rams are both designers who had systems and rules for approaching their work which would allow them to quickly produce good designs. Grids are a form of system that allow designers to effectively organise content for their work. The Fibonacci sequence is a system of numbers commonly seen in nature, with a ratio of 1.6 between the numbers. The numbers are as follows 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233, etc. This ratio can be utilised to create visually appealing designs. The golden spiral uses fibonacci numbers to create a grid that is meant to be visually appealing, the impressionists were particularly fond of using this grid in their designs.

For our workshop we were giving a template with a 233 x 144mm spread marked out, then using cut up paper we had to create compositions within the template. The elements we could create using the paper however had to have Fibonacci numbers as the measurements for their height and width. This meant that all of the elements were using the golden ratio. Below are contact sheets of the spreads that I produced. I thoroughly enjoyed creating this and believe layout and spread design will continue to be an area of interest for me.

Exercise 2 – The Golden Section

Exercise 3 – Van De Graaf Canon 

Exercise 4 – Layout

To explore composition we were tasked with drawing a 9×9 rectangular grid, onto this grid we then experimented with the composition of text and shapes of varying sizes. Above are my experiments, initially we used only text of the same font size, then we went on to introduce a variety of font sizes as well as some shapes.

Overall I found this workshop particularly useful in helping to understand layout and composition, especially through the application of grids which I had previously not worked with before. This workshop will greatly aid me in my current project exploring the use of grids for layout design.