Layout, Hierarchy and The Grid

Fri 7th Oct

Layout – positioning of elements on the page to create a balance between positive space and design elements

Balance: between white space and design

Contrast: form, colour, direction, etc and area of contrast = design focus

Clear path for eye

Type Setting


  • formal and classical
  • breaks text for sense
  • elegant, organic shapes
  • simple way to place a type element
  • can look staid and mournful
  • broken into phrases
  • variety of long and short lines


  • clean shape
  • used for newspapers and books
  • text forced into lines
  • efficient use of space
  • ugly gaps can occur – use long enough line in relation to size of type
  • smaller type, more words on line

Rag: uneven margin for vertical column

  • Flush left/ragged right: left edge is hard; right edge is soft
  • Flush right/ragged left: right edge is hard; left edge is soft

Line spacing: variations

Line length: optimum 39-45 letters

Grids – create grids in layout programmes

Golden section: a:b=b:(a+b)

Surrounded by margins

Spreads: books and magazines designed in two facing pages

Multicolumn grid: flexible format

Hanglines: divide page horizontally

Detailing: line breaks

Hierarchy – typographic hierarchy

  • Expresses organisation of content
    • emphasises some elements, subordinating others
    • helps readers scan text
  • Emphasis:
    • Italic
    • Bold face
    • Small caps
    • Change in colour
    • Different fonts (adjust size so x-height align)

Author: ellenreiddesign

First year Graphic Communication student at Cardiff Metropolitan University.

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