A grid is a network of lines. It is a
tool for generating form, arranging
images, and organizing, information.
The grid can work quietly in the
background, or it can assert itself
as an active element. The grid
becomes visible as objects come into
alignment with it. Some designers
use grids in a strict, absolute way,
while others see them as a starting
point in an evolving process.
In the design of printed matter,
guidelines help the designer align
elements in relation to each other.
Consistent margins and columns
create an underlying structure that
unifies a document and makes the
layout process more efficient.
A well-made grid encourages
the designer to vary the scale
and placement of elements
without relying wholly on arbitrary
judgements. The grid offers a rationale
and a starting point for each
composition, converting a blank
area into a structured field.
Grids are part of modern
urbanism and architecture. The
facades of many glass high rises and
other modern buildings consist of
uniform ribbons of metal and glass
that wrap the building's volume in
a continuous skin. The street grids
used in many modern cities around
the globe promote circulation among
neighborhoods and the flow of
traffic, in contrast with the suburban
cul de sac, a dead-end road that
keeps neighborhoods closed off
and private.
The grid imparts a similarly
democratic character to the printed page. By making space into numerous equal units, the grid makes the entire page available for use; the edges become as important as the center. Grids help designers create active, assymmetrical compositons in place of static, centered ones. By breaking down space into smaller units, grids encourage designers to leave some areas open rather than filling up the whole page.