Design Desk

Everyday Grids

Since becoming a Design Fellow at Chronicle Books, I have been working a lot with grids. Yup, that’s right, those intersecting cyan lines you find in InDesign and Illustrator can actually be your best friend when you’re designing a book. I saw them so much on the screen they started to linger in my brain . . . and now I see them everywhere, even when I’m not in front of the computer! Like Michael Morris said, graphic designers never really take a break. There’s always something that catches our eye that other people don’t seem to notice.

I find grids fascinating because they serve a purpose in design. The purpose could be efficiency, such as aligning text and graphics in newspapers, or in planning the layouts of densely-populated cities. They can also be used to create order or consistency, to build a strong foundation for a design, or even to simply create visual harmony in a layout. Decoding why someone used a particular grid intrigues me. You can tell a lot about a graphic designer’s personality based on their work, and for me understanding his/her grid selection lets me sense their personality and design style. I also find it amusing to analyze why some grids are working with the content and why some aren’t, and to figure out when is the right time to break away from the grid. I guess this concept is similar to life in general . . . we set rules to serve a purpose in our lives and when we realize a rule isn’t helping we have to break free to make things work.

Some people enjoy breaking away from grids, but I, on the other hand, find comfort in the grid. So here are some photographs that I took of grids I found in my daily life. I hope you enjoy them and who knows, maybe my obsession with seeing grids everywhere will be contagious and spread to you. Don’t worry, they’re fun!

Nadia Izazi
Children’s Design Fellow

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