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I wanted to create a formal layout which would give an impression of restraint and conformity - an 8x8 grid would achieve this. A large top margin of 120pt would allow for a large headers and when coupled with a 61.89pt bottom margin, left an area capable of fitting 8 rows aligned to the 9pt baseline grid. The documents intended to be created using this system were A3 sheets to be arranged flat on a table or viewed digitally, there was no need for large side margins to accommodate space for thumbs the way books have. 48pt margins were selected as they worked proportionally with the other margins being used.
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A 12pt baseline grid would allow for 9pt body text with 12pt line spacing, which is the optimum size for a 30cm reading distance. The 12pt baseline grid also allowed flexibility as multiples of 12pt line spacing would also work (e.g. headers). Captions could then be implemented using 7pt text with the same 12pt line spacing.
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Using the margins tool on Indesign, 4 columns were created, each with a 12pt gutter. The 12pt gutter created continuity with the baseline grid but still provided enough space to separate content. The 4 columns would distinguish text columns from the rest of the 8x8 grid allowing them to be more visible when working.
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Given the longitudinal space that i was working with, 4 text columns were the optimum. columns of this size allowed no more than 10 words per line and no less than 7 words. This meant that the readers eye would not tire or jump to the next line to quickly.
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Using the "layout guides" function on indesign, an 8x8 grid was created using a 12pt gutter between both rows and columns.
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Using multiples of 2, a diverse variety of arrangements could be achieved which are both formal in tone and well balanced.
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A parody of the book "Grid Systems", by Joseph Muller-Brockman used for the cover image of this project created using my grid system.
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Grid System

As a design student it is of vital importance that a good understanding of the design process is demonstrated clearly and succinctly.

This short project shows the steps taken to create a grid system that I use for all my process and reflective journals. It's not perfect and is constantly adapted depending on the types of data being presented but is a good starting point.

Andrew Hutchison
Student Glasgow, United Kingdom