In the design world, grids serve as a template for a project's final layout, with perfectly spaced horizontal and vertical lines that help designers place elements in a coherent way. The design grid can serve as a framework for artists, graphic designers, and web designers, and it makes the organization process much easier. Below, we've outlined the benefits of grids, as well as a few practical techniques for designing an elegant layout.
Why are design grids important?
Design grids are kind of like scaffolding, and your initial design is like a construction site. Before you install doors or paint the building a pretty color, you need to have a strong foundation. A design grid gives you precise boundaries to work with, so that your layout looks great on a website, promotional poster, or magazine spread. In recent years, grids have become more popular with digital designers, because the creative tools they're using have gotten more complex.
How can I employ grids in my work?
When you use a grid properly, you have the power to create balanced and beautiful layouts. Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Establish a Consistent Rhythm: Above all else, design grids serve as a set of guidelines for how objects should be placed in a layout. The grid's spacing can help designers to create a steady meter, so that their design is more accessible to the average viewer. Having a consistent rhythm to a creative work is extremely important, because it provides context that aids viewers in understanding your point of view.
- Stick to the Rule of Thirds: Also known as the golden ratio, the rule of thirds has been used for hundreds of years to create pleasant proportions in the art world. If you divide an image into a 3x3 grid (like a tic-tac-toe board), it has been found that framing subjects on the intersecting lines will create more drama than if you captured the subject head-on. This rule is just as useful when working with design grids.
- Keep Objects in Proportion: Grids also help designers to define proportion at any scale, whether they're creating a billboard advertisement or company website. Viewers use context clues to help them understand how large, small, or far away something is, and this has everything to do with proportions. As designers, it's best to craft content that looks great when viewed on a computer, TV, or smartphone, and design grids are a handy measurement system for proper proportions.