A grid separates a page into vertical and horizontal divisions. These divisions could include:
- margins at the edges of the page,
- columns dividing the page vertically,
- rows dividing the page horizontally,
- spaces between blocks of type and/or images, and
- spaces between individual rows of type, also known as the baseline grid.
Spacing and gridlines can be used to organize and create symmetry in visual media. Organization is important to clearly communicate your message to a broad audience. If a message is unorganized, readers will lose concentration, and your message will not be effectively communicated. Symmetry draws the eye, and ensures that your image will be more appealing. A grid gives you a modular system on which to build a layout methodically, and helps to make decisions about where to position items across multiple pages. Grids encourage consistency, which is important for projects with more than a few pages.
There are no set rules about the size of margins, or about the spacing or number of columns and rows. When deciding on the measurements for a grid, try making the top margin slightly smaller than the bottom margin so the text area doesn’t look as though it’s sliding down the page. On a computer, the grid will be represented by non-printing guidelines that the software generates, behind the images and text, based on the measurements you enter in the relevant dialog boxes. All other horizontal and vertical measurements can be built around this basic frame.