A number of years ago,
I bought a book titled Grid Systems
, a discussion on all things to do with design grids. I’ve had it for close to 20 years at this point. It’s the kind of book about design that holds up. One passage from the title, about the Rule of Thirds, a key grid concept:
An awareness of the law of thirds enables the designer to focus attention where it will most naturally occur and to control the compositional space. Elements do not need to land directly on the intersecting point as close proximity draws attention to them.
The writing is dry. The visuals are clinical, and half-transparent vellum pages appear occasionally to help underline points by overlaying grids on the designs being highlighted. The document is designed for the sake of reference, and honestly, if you’re going to spend money on a book like this, it’s probably exactly what you want. The way that author Kimberly Elam discusses this topic is just sort of beautiful in its own way. It’s up there, for me, with The Mac is Not a Typewriter
as design books go.
I got it at a time when I was starting to find my wings as a designer, and embracing that my path into journalism, an industry I always wanted to be in, was print design. And it was. I worked in that field for years.
As lots of things have changed about the nature of design—where print became less relevant and the internet only grew in prominence—a lot of design elements have changed. But one thing that hasn’t is the grid. It is gospel. It makes it possible to make sure that your website’s visuals follow an underlying system.