I'm working on this simple A4 landscape poster basically saying "adobe.com/" (newline) "indesign" with big letters in the middle of the page, and a small lipsum footer at the bottom. But I'm having a hard time coming up with a nice grid for it. Preferably this grid should follow the golden ratio as closely as possible.

At The Complex Grid I got as far as finding the number of lines I needed. 4 lines would be perfect - lines 2 and 3 could contain my text, and lines 1 and 4 could form the surrounding space. But {4-(2-1)}/2 didn't add up - only {5-(2-1)}/2 did - and I have no idea how to make it work with 5 lines. What to do?


The thing is, this poster is gonna be hung up at a public space where the design standards are very high, I don't want anybody to go "ooh look, he doesn't know how to use grids". Especially not Wim Crouwel, who is known to frequent around these parts.

  • 1
    Ignore the golden ratio, and screw the grid. While it is true that constraints are most often a good path towards artistic expression, one must also bear in mind that the primary metric used is some form of subjective assertion of "pleasing proportions." It quickly becomes obvious that pleasing to me is not the same as pleasing to you. This has a sort of the corollary in rule 34.
    – horatio
    Commented Mar 8, 2012 at 15:09

1 Answer 1


You're overcomplicating this. If you need to use a grid, then use one that is appropriate to the work.

It looks like the 'Complex Grid' is a system originally designed to allow many different layout variations in a magazine. You are designing a single page. So what's wrong with using 5 equal vertical divisions if that is what you want to do?

  • 1
    How about 5 vertical divisions, with 6 subdivisions each. Roll a 6-side die 5 times, marking the subdivision based upon the die roll. If you don't like the result repeat. If you like it, make a note of the result. Reroll for a few finals. Decide which one is most pleasing, then use that as a template for the center-lines of each line of text. If you don't like it, try your second choice. I spent about 2 weeks in art school doing similar compositional studies with die rolls and even die rolls to determine base rules for die rolls. Abstract drawing class. Great class great teacher.
    – horatio
    Commented Mar 8, 2012 at 17:09
  • Gary Gygax taught abstract drawing at a college level? Who knew? Commented Mar 8, 2012 at 17:21
  • Gygax would have used hex grids, though.
    – e100
    Commented Mar 8, 2012 at 18:18

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