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22 Project one The fundamentals of print design

Adobe InDesign CS3/

Quark XPress 8
Build better
page grids
Master the grids and
guides features of your
layout software. Alistair
Dabbs shows you how to
endow your print design
work with more structure,
consistency and speed
Any print project that runs across more than one page
probably needs a layout grid. Ofcially, the purpose of a grid is to
standardise the basic layout features from one page to the next,
thereby maintaining visual consistency across the entire
publication. This in turn helps readers become familiar with the
design and navigate through the pages comfortably. And as any
editor will tell you, if you can make readers comfortable, they will
come back for more.
Unofcially, a page grid also triggers a brilliant side
effect: it lets you do more work in less time. With a grid sitting on
every page, half the chore of layout is done before you even start to
ex your design muscles. So here well look at how to build effective,
practical and versatile grids for a variety of multi-page print
publications, such as books, leaets and magazines.
Alistair Dabbs
freelancer Dabbs is a
journalist, print
specialist, editorial
trainer andco-
author of several
books includingthe
Digital Designers
Bible, andThe
Print Managers
CS3or QuarkXPress8
gutters, columns,
bleed, andfurniture
withruler guides
03 If you are using QuarkXPress, open the Master Guides & Grid dialogue box from the Page menu and tick the Preview
option. The top section of this window lets you set the margins and columns while previewing the result as you make adjustments.
When youre happy, click OK.
Computer ArtsProjects _October 2008
02 Once the new document opens, go straight to the
A-Master spread to edit the base master page. InDesign users
should then open the Margins and Columns dialogue box from
the Layout menu and tick the Preview option. From here you
can experiment with page margins and the number of
columns visually.
01 Run your page layout software (Adobe InDesign or
QuarkXPress) and create a new document. In the New
Document window, specify a page size and tick the Facing
Pages option. Now heres the trick: dont bother with the
Margins or Columns settings. Just leave them at their defaults
and click OK.
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Build better page grids 23
04 Now lets add some intermediate guides to split the main columns in two.
From InDesigns Layout menu, choose Create Guides. Tick the Preview option and set
the number of columns to double those you set up in step 2, keeping the same gutter
measurement. Select Fit Guides to Margins. October2008_ Computer ArtsProjects
Deep top margin
Thetopmarginof just about any pagedesignneeds tobelower downthanyouprobably thinkit ought tobe. A
shallowtopmarginmakes apagevisually oppressiveandoff-putting, whereas adeeptopmarginmakes apageappear relaxed
06 These additional grid lines are applied in a slightly different way using
QuarkXPress 8. Open the Guides palette from the Window menu, then click on the
palette menu button and choose Create Rows and Columns. When you have set up
your rows and columns, click OK.
05 Designers often forget this next bit: set up some horizontal guides by increasing the number of
rows. Ensure you include a gutter measurement, otherwise objects laid out in one row will crash into objects
in the row below. Dont be afraid of breaking the type area into little blocks.
07 If you wish to allow pictures and page furniture to bleed off the page trim,
add some bleed guides. You can do this in InDesign by opening the Document Setup
dialogue box from the File menu. These appropriately coloured (red) guides ensure you
are bleeding objects far enough.
08 To add bleed guides in QuarkXPress 8, click on the Guides palette menu button and choose Create
Bleed and Safety Guides. Safety guides are supposed to sit just inside the page trim, but you can set their
gutter to 0pt in order to insert snap-to guides around the trim itself.
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24 Project one The fundamentals of print design
11 As ever, things are a bit different in QuarkXPress 8. Guides on a
QuarkXPress master page are not locked by default on document pages, so you
might want to lock them manually. Open the Guides palette and click the padlock
column heading symbol: this will lock all the guides.
09 At the risk of overkill, it is often useful to drag guides manually from the ruler to align with furniture
objects. This can help when aligning straps and folios, for example. Note that dragging a ruler guide onto the
pasteboard causes the guide to stretch across the entire spread.
13 Heres an example of a baseline grid being used for aligning objects in a layout rather than just aligning
text. With the caption locked to the baseline grid, its extremely easy to drag the picture and the vertical rules to
align with it. In InDesign, you can snap objects to the grid.
Computer ArtsProjects _October 2008
10 The guides you have added to the InDesign master page will be locked in
document pages by default. If you want to prevent these guides from being moved
accidentally if the master page objects are overridden on a document page, select
them and use the Lock Position command.
12 Baseline grids (for aligning lines of text in adjacent columns) are
much under-rated as a layout design tool. Set up a document-wide baseline grid
in InDesigns Grids Preferences, entering the leading value in the Increment Every
eld. Ensure the baseline grid matches your other guides.
More than one grid
Amagazineor brochurecanbenet fromusingseveral different pagegrids. This
provides visual variety across apublication, for exampleswitchingbetweenthree-columnand
two-columnlayouts. But makesuretheplacement of basic pagefurniture, suchas folios, straps
anddatelines, remains consistent.
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14 Baseline grids work in a completely different fashion in QuarkXPress 8, and
they are far too powerful to cover in this tutorial. But to congure the core baseline
grid for the layout, re-open the Master Guides & Grids dialogue box from the Pages
menu, then set the Font Size and Line Spacing.
Think horizontally
Peopledislikereadinglongcolumns of text becauseit looks liketoomucheffort. Sowhensettingupany multi-
columngrid, designit withaviewtosplittingastory across several short columns rather thanusingthefull height of thepage.
Build better page grids 25 October2008_ Computer ArtsProjects
15 Here is a book grid created using the basic techniques explained in this project. Note how we have
employed a traditional book design approach, which dictates that the outer margins are double the inner
margins, while the top and bottom margins are determined by a diagonal rule between page corners.
16 Putting this book grid into practice, it lends itself to straightforward text-
heavy books such as novels and biographies. Note how the traditional grid works
awlessly for simple pages like this, and particularly how the deep top and outer
margins ensure the pages look inviting. An equal all-round margin would be bland.
17 These textbook pages have been laid out using exactly the same grid again.
The additional column guides make it simple to accommodate pictures and captions
while leaving plenty of air at the outer edge. The row guides help maintain the balance
of objects sitting on facing pages.
18 This is a grid for a small leaet, based on a single column grid split into two with additional column
guides, and these have been split in half again with single vertical guides dragged on from the ruler. The
additional vertical guides give you more options for aligning pictures and furniture.
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26 Project one The fundamentals of print design
Computer ArtsProjects _October 2008
20 The varied column guides, plus additional vertical ruler guides in the leaet grid, support an easy
variation in measure to accommodate captions next to the outer margins. Consistency between the two
pages lets you run the narrower columns without worrying if they will look out of place.
Hide guides
Learnthecommands for showingandhidingall on-screengrids andguides until they becomesecondnatureto
you. InInDesign, togglebetweenPreviewandNormal modes at thebottomof theTools palette(or pressW). InQuarkXPress,
press F7totoggleguides andCtrl/Cmnd+F7totogglebaselinegrids.
21 Now heres a classic grid design for magazine work: apart from the ruler
guides laid down for the strap and folio, this is essentially a seven-column grid with
seven rows. The advantage of using an odd number of columns is that it provides an
almost endless variety of layout possiblities.
19 In its most basic form, the leaet grid can be used like this. Note that the
left-hand page uses the full column width for the body text, while the right-hand page
only stretches across three-quarters of the full measure. The row guides have been
used to keep the pictures balanced.
23 Here are two ways of using the seven-column grid to lay out a two-column page. Although these
pages are not too pretty side by side, they could still be part of the same feature article because of the
consistent column width and starting point down the page.
22 The same grid is used on both pages but it is very clear to the reader that
whatever is on the left hand page nishes there, because the right-hand page looks so
very different. However, a certain balance is still evident across the spread, thanks to the
seven-row horizontal grid.
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