Design

Grids in designing: Types of Grids for Professional Designs

November 26, 2020 | 0 min read

Glorify Team

A good design is created by visual elements organized and positioned to each other. The layouts help by giving meaning to designs that look appealing and maintain balance across the page and by the slides. 

Grid layouts

Grids are the important components of a layout that work as a backbone, infographics, and presentation. 

Listed below are the different kinds of grids that exist starting from anatomy grids for better understanding.

Parts of a Grid

Grids are made up of several parts and every part is not presented in each grid. It depends on the sort of grid used.  

  • The Format – It is a full area where a design is laid out be it in print or page.
  • Margin – They are the empty spaces between the edges of the content and the format. The size of the margins gives the design its general shape, usually a rectangle.
  • Flowlines – They are horizontal lines separating the sections into parallel bands. It helps the reader follow the content in the layout and also creates stopping points, or edges to be placed on. Flowlines are also called hang lines or baselines.
  • Modules – They are the spaces created between the flowlines and vertical lines called building blocks. Its vertical groups together create columns and horizontally create rows.
  • Spatial Zones or Regions – These zones are created by the adjacent modules in a vertical and horizontal area where the vertical region holds blocks of text and the horizontal holds videos. They can be organized proportionally or by creating overlapping zones.
  • Columns – They are vertical spatial zones from the top to the bottom margin.
  • Rows – Rows are horizontal zones from the left to the right margin. 
  • Gutters – Gutters are spaces found between the rows and the columns, equal between columns or rows, maintaining a visual balance.
  • Markers – They are the areas that run inside the header or the footer marking a place of repeating information from page to page.
Parts of grids

Types of Grids

The layout grids are used across projects that have one page of content or hundreds. They help organize elements within a space. For instants: even word documents have grids just that aren’t always visible. These grids help the designers position images and texts that look easy to follow and coherent.

Types of grids

Many layout editors both online or offline have tools called a “snap to grid.” They have blue or red lines that are visible when elements are moved in a design that helps designers know of the edges lining up to the grid or if they are centered. More complex editors show the distance between the elements proportionately.

There are two ways to design layout grids: symmetric or asymmetric. 

  • Symmetric grids follow a centerline that has vertical and horizontal margins equal to each other. The columns are of the same width. 
  • On the other hand, in an asymmetric layout, the margins and columns can be different from each other. Therefore, it is always important to look for a balance while using an asymmetric layout.
Types of grids layout

Here are five kinds of layout grids: 

1. Manuscript Grid

This grid is used for a word document or a presentation template that is at times invisible. When in a text document, it helps separate the header, the footer, and space on the margins and its format creates a rectangle inside the page.

Manuscript grid layout

This grid works as a foundation for magazines, newspapers, ebooks, and all text-based designs, once set on the first page the other pages follow the same layout. Even if elements bleed off the edge the grid helps with keeping a balance for the entire design.

2. Column Grid

It is used to organize the elements into columns. Academic books and magazines are a few examples that use the column grids for easy-to-read sections. They can have as little as two columns or even six or more.

Text and images are placed that follow the vertical lines and flowlines making up the columns. The images are placed inside a column, or even across two or more to create a different visual layout. Gutters (space between the columns) must be proportional throughout the entire document.

column grid layout

The columns have the same width in the symmetric column grid as compared to the asymmetric grid with columns thinner than others.

3. Modular Grid

They are similar to column grids but they have rows used when there are more elements to organize. For instance, Newspapers use columns and grids to organize their stories that are also comfortable to read and have equal size modules.

This grid also works great for laying forms, charts, and schedules.

modular grid layout

4. Baseline Grid

This grid creates a baseline where texts sit that leads to the spacing between baselines. They can be applied to any grids and help give a flowing rhythm to the text with headings and subheadings to the body text.

baseline grid layout

5. Hierarchical Grids

They are mostly used in web designs that help organize the elements. It can be set as freestyle, or with a modular grid as a guide. With the move to the digital platforms, the newspapers moved from their usual symmetric column grids to these hierarchy grids with columns inside the zones.

Hierarchical grids layout

How Do Designers Use Hierarchy in Web Design?

In a hierarchy, the elements are set in order of importance where words come as a concept of royalty. Web designers use this to make sure of the important information to be seen first calling special notices to stand out.

It also depends on the kind of website it is being designed in. For example, an online magazine might not use this design on their homepage in order to show articles in different sizes or even the headlines. 

Hierarchy in Web Design

Composition Grids

There are three rules to follow when it comes to composition grids:

  • It is a composition of grids that separate space in a grid of nine equal spaces. It can be vertical or horizontal with all nine spaces of the same size. These elements are positioned in two ways. The focus points are placed where the lines cross from the top left to the top right, and bottom left to the bottom right. 
  • They are usually body text that is placed in the spaces that are created by intersecting lines.
  • To create a pleasing composition, one must make sure that the design is balanced and proportional.
composition grids layout

The Golden Ratio

It is also called the Golden Spiral or Golden Mean. The phenomenon of this composition is found in nature that is applied to the design. Many famous logos are created using this Golden Ratio and are quite common in photography too.

the golden ratio grids layout

This is closely related to the Fibonacci sequence where the equation rules the measurement of the Golden Rectangle that is perfectly balanced. 

Composite Grids

A designer when creating a grid does not stick to the basics. It is common to mix grids to make the layout design look more creative and appealing. 

Composite grids layout

Closing Lines:

Grids help create a more professional look for any document. This depends on the kind of design a designer is working on. The designs composing heavy text need layout grids and those with abstract color and shape work well with the rule of thirds or golden ratio. 

This is why templates exist. They save you and the designer the grid-building time. 

Grids layout design FAQs

1. What are grids in graphic design?

They are a two-dimensional structure that makes up a series of intersecting vertical, horizontal, and angular lines or curved lines for structured content.

2. Why do we use grids

Theyhelp align and balance the required design and to achieve cool effects like diagonal typography. Grids also help structure, guide, and shape the content.

3. What is an 8pt grid?

It is a system that uses increments of 8 to size and space of the elements on a page. 

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