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If I find a layout example that I like and want to imitate the grid layout whats the easiest way to go about it? Right now I have the example on a layer and just putting ruler guides on it to figure out how many columns. The rows I am finding tricky as I can't seem to find a consistency. I am lining rectangles up along the margin to try and figure it out.

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This is the layout design I want to try and replicate the grid.

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  • Grids are sometimes a helpful tool but they are never a requirement.
    – Scott
    Mar 19 at 5:31
  • There are at least three different top-level grids in that design. Mar 19 at 9:44
  • Why would you not just strike out the elements you don't want, and Save the rest as a Template? Mar 20 at 17:02

3 Answers 3

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Like others have said, not every design needs to use a grid as such to be balanced, but rather a set of geometrical rules.

It's common to have some sort of horizontal grid in the form of margins and columns, but vertically you would often let the height of elements be dictated by the content. That's just the nature of text really. You can set the width of a text frame, but the height is dictated by the font, its size and leading and the amount of text.

To create order vertically, you would often work with some consistency in white space and often also use a baseline grid if the design involves multiple columns.

In your specific case, I'm afraid you are searching for a system where there is none. The design you want to copy is, in my opinion, not a particularly good example to follow. The overall idea is hard to have anything against, but the execution is a bit sloppy. There are lots of inconsistencies.

I've drawn some lines and boxes on top of the layout to show you what I mean. I hope it's not too confusing.

  • The header section in the top does not seem to align or correspond with anything else in the layout. That's not a problem at all, it's just not based on a grid.

  • The Skills section is divided in three columns, but the columns do not have equal spacing. There is less space between column one and two than there is between column two and three. Perhaps this is done because the two icons in column three are more "solid" than the others, but it certainly doesn't follow a grid.

  • The icons in the Skills section don't seem to be consistent in size or scale. In the upper row their centers are aligned to the center of the one line in the headings and in the second row their centers are aligned to the center of the two lines in the headings. Perhaps the best solution in this case, but not grid based, merely "aligned by eye".

  • The two columns in the bottom section are not of equal width. The left column is wider than the right.

  • In the Education section, the bullets align with the heading and the rest of the text is indented. In the Experience section, the bullets themselves are indented and the text has an additional indent.

  • The text lines in the bottom section don't follow the same baseline grid. It's not a must that they do, but if possible, it can really help the overall balance of a design. Hard to imagine a strict grid based layout which doesn't take the baselines into account in some way.

  • The yellow boxes on the left are all of equal height. They show that the vertical distances that appear similar aren't really exactly the same. Not necessarily a problem, but it just shows that no strict grid is involved.

  • The green boxes on the left are also all of equal height. They show how inconsistent the spaces after the bold lines in the Education section are. This really makes that section look unbalanced in my eyes.

As I see it, this layout isn't particularly systematic and grid based in its approach, but follows the principle of "nudging until it looks good".

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  • Excellent dissection showing how the grid approach here does not work and highlighting the areas that could use some more balancing ! Overall the layout does not look so bad but could be greatly (and fairly easily) improved- as you have noted. Those bulleted lists on the bottom half really didn't look right to me.
    – Kyle
    Mar 19 at 19:13
  • @Kyle, thanks! I agree that the design ideas is fine and can be used as an inspiration. No need to copy it in detail though.
    – Wolff
    Mar 19 at 19:41
  • Hi @Wolff thanks this dissection and the fact that no strict grid is used reiterates the point that everyone is making here. I ended up not strictly trying to copy grid used and designed in a way that made sense to my content. Mar 20 at 3:25
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I think there maybe too much focus on "the grid". Everything does not need to be fit to an all-same-size grid.

In the example you are wanting to copy there is vertical symmetry but the horizontal rows are not the same height. In the "skills" section the top row is single line heading and then 3 lines of body text. The second row is all double line heading and then 3 rows of body text. Even though the rows are not the same height there is still a balance to it.

Notice how the Web Design is put on 2 lines- this could probably have fit on 1 line but would have thrown off the balance of that row. Things like this can help your piece from looking too choppy and broken up.

It is more important to give an overall balance to the page rather than necessarily having things all set to the same exact size "grid".

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Normally you just set up some consistent page margins, then set up some 3-column and/or 2-column text frames, with consistent gutters and consistently alingning the frames to the margins, and you get a grid, without having an actual grid.

Replicating someone else's grid to the point should not be a purpose in itself, as long as the finished product makes sense, visually.

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