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When laying out text, images and other elements, designers use the device of the grid. A grid is an underlying structure of lines and boxes which the designer employs during the construction of an artwork, multimedia project or web site. The readability of a document/screen will be greatly improved if the reader can anticipate finding text and images in the expected place. Imagine reading a magazine which was laid out differently every month. You would soon tire of navigating it afresh every time you tried to read a new issue.
Grids are used for several reasons ...
Almost all multimedia authoring, web site design and DTP programs allow you to define a background grid to which you can align your various elements (text, boxes, images, nav bars etc). Typically you will be able to define the distance between horizontal and vertical lines and the colour between them.
You should always consider your grid very carefully. Once you have decided upon it and started to build your project screens, it is time consuming to change it. This is why storyboarding is so important.
Dreamweaver's grid settings dialogue box
Most applications allow you to define and display a grid. You will normally find settings in Preferences or View menus.
If you plan to use Photoshop and Dreamweaver to build your interface, you should create identical grids in both and use "snap to grid" to align your elements.
To some extent, using CSS to control layout has made the use of grids less important in web design, but you may still find it useful in deciding the initial positions of your <div> tags and other positional elements.
The spacing of your grid lines can be arrived at by dividing your overall project/screen size into usable integer multiples.
Grids are usually used to position and show all the elements common to multiple pages documents but are also used for single page documents. Grid elements include ...
It is crucially important that the grid is right and thus designers and their clients, with the technical consultation of printers and print finishers, will often spend a considerable time fine tuning a grid.
Prior to computer DTP, grids were either printed onto art card (for multiple production jobs) or drawn individually by designers onto "paste-up" boards in light blue ink or pencil, a colour which didn't show up when an artwork was photographed during plate making. Today's DTP layout applications provide tools for creating non-printing grids which can be made visible when necessary and to which text and images boxes and frames may be "snapped" or aligned.
There are several stages in the construction of a grid ...
Paper sizes may be specified by referring to the ISO (International Standards Organisation) series of paper sizes. The ISO has been responsible for standardising a number of elements common to publishing.
The following are the standard metric paper sizes in common use today ...
There are also SRA sizes which are basically oversize paper sizes allowing for trimming back to the A sizes where images have been laid out to bleed over the edge of a page.
DTP page layout applications allow a user to create so called Òmaster pagesÓ. Designers place their grids, and elements common to all pages (such as page numbers and ruled lines), onto these master pages and then generate document pages from them.
Several different master pages may be generated for different document sections such as ...