July 8, 2019 Layout

Ch 6: Page Layout


Page layout is the process of composing text, image and negative space on a page (printed or digital) to produce a balanced, and harmonious visual message. A graphic designer uses a grid system to subdivide the page into geometrical spaces that would constitute the grammar of the page layout which is made up of vertical, horizontal, oblique and curved borders, margins, columns, inter-column spaces, lines of type, and negative spaces between blocks of type and images. The visual grammar of page layout forms its own visual message.

Page layout is more than just design, it is visual communication. Newspapers, magazines, books, websites, and other digital spaces, not only must make the layout visually appealing to the reader’s eye, but also tell and show the importance of the story, the text, and the message through the design. Stories and photographs are not the only elements that convey context to a reader; a good design suggests a context too.

Designs can have different looks. They can occupy just one narrow vertical column, many columns, or they can spread over an entire page, two pages, or reside in a digital space with its own device dependent conventions. Design must balance the overall composition of the page taking into consideration all elements of design, namely; the composition of image, text, white space, and the effects of color. Creating a bold design, judiciously allotting areas of contrast, and selecting an appropriate typeface, the composition should lead the reader’s eyes toward various parts of the page in a harmonious and unobtrusive journey.

If a page is poorly designed, the page will not communicate an effective message. Various design choices; starting from the geometric dimensions of pages, sizes of type, column widths, their spacing and alignment can exert a subtle but important impact on the nature and quality of the communication.



Pay attention to the design’s strengths as well as the weaknesses in the page layout structure.
Write down 2 strengths and 2 weaknesses.


Grids are the invisible glue that holds a design together, so whether you work in print, digitally, or on the web you need to understand how grids work. If you can’t apply a layout grid system to a particular concept, you’ll never be able to repeat that look consistently, then it becomes art and not design. Today, since we are always applying designs to traditional and non-traditional media, it’s even more critical that you master how a grid works. There are two main types of layouts: vertical or landscape. There are also only two types of grids. One that has an even number of columns and one that has an odd number of columns. An experienced designer knows that a specific style of design can only be achieved by an odd number of columns, or alternatively, by using an even number of columns. Always use a layout grid for your design projects. No exceptions. If you don’t, you’ll never be able to repeat that look consistently. Your projects will never have visual harmony, and like anything that lacks structure or a strong foundation, your concepts will be visually inconsistent from one product to another and will always be a struggle to produce. Without a layout grid, graphic elements will not properly work together.


View the Grid Structure Handout


Pay attention to the design’s strengths as well as the weaknesses in the grid structure.
Write down 2 strengths and 2 weaknesses.