Design School: Layout
eBook - ePub

Design School: Layout

A Practical Guide for Students and Designers

Richard Poulin

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  1. 232 pages
  2. English
  3. ePUB (mobile friendly)
  4. Available on iOS & Android
eBook - ePub

Design School: Layout

A Practical Guide for Students and Designers

Richard Poulin

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About This Book

Design School: Layout is an instructive guide for students, recent graduates, and self-taught designers. It provides a comprehensive introduction to creating and changing layouts: a crucially important skill that underpins practically every aspect of graphic design. You'll get in-depth analysis of all the major areas of theory and practice used by experienced professional designers. Each section provides explanation and visual examples of grid systems and in-depth discussion of compositional principles and strategies. The text is interspersed with tests designed to help youretain key points you've covered in the preceding spreads, and includes illustrations sections with real world scenarios.

This in-depth guide avoids the temptation to stray into other areas of design technique, preferring to cover the essential, detailed skills of the professional graphic designer to arm you with the knowledge needed for a successful start to yourchosen career.

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Section 1

Layout Fundamentals

The foundation for any successful graphic designer is an understanding of the fundamentals of compositional layout. Throughout a graphic designer’s education and career, the basic tenets of compositional layout are constantly referred to for inspiration, ideas, and as reminders of how they provide the basis for designing memorable and communicative work.
Layout fundamentals, such as measurement and proportion, are the framework for creating clear and meaningful graphic design in the most appropriate and effective manner. These basic tenets and principles provide structure and further enhance meaning in your work. Without a reliance on these fundamentals, your compositional layouts will be ineffective, non-communicative, and will not “speak” to any audience.

Absolute and Relative Measurement Systems

Measurement is defined as “the assignment of a number to a characteristic of an object or event, which can be compared with other objects or events.” Since the early eighteenth century, measurement has been based on universal systems and standards that are solely dependent upon its context and discipline.
Measurement systems are an integral part of layout, from the spatial dimensions of a page grid, to the organization and spacing of its visual elements. Understanding various absolute and relative measurement systems will enhance and broaden your knowledge of compositional layout.
In graphic design, graphic designers primarily rely upon two measurement systems for the majority of their work; one is based on measurements of fixed or absolute values and the other is based on a series of rational or relative values.

Absolute Measurement Systems

An absolute measurement system, such as the American–British Point System and the Metric System, is always based on a standard, fixed value of units—picas and points, and millimeters and centimeters respectively. The following absolute measurement systems are always communicated in finite terms and never change:


The American–British Point System, developed by printer Nelson C. Hawks (American, 1840–1929) in the 1870s, is based on standard fixed values of the units point and pica which measure 0.01383 and 0.166 inches, respectively. There are twelve (12) points in one pica and six (6) picas, or seventy-two (72) points, in one inch. This standardized measuring system’s base element— the point—was originally named for noted type designer François-Ambroise Didot (French, 1730–1804) in 1783, who improved the system that was originally invented by Pierre Simon Fournier (French, 1712–1768).


The Metric System’s standard fixed value units are based on millimeters (.001 meter, 0.1 centimeter, 0.0394 inch). One millimeter is equal to 2.85 American–British points.
While the size of type has always been measured in points, there have been variations in the past as to the precise size of a point. This discrepancy was resolved in 1985 by both Adobe and Apple when they agreed that the measurement of a point would be exactly 1/72 of an in...

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