Grid systems are an invaluable design resource for web designers, having been used since ancient times. They create order and stability in designs and can be adapted to various screen sizes and devices. When using a grid system, there are several different types to consider, such as flexbox grids, column-based grids, and even custom-made grid solutions. A well-executed grid helps keep designs orderly and coherent across multiple platforms.
What Are Grid Systems in Design?
Grids are essential tools for defining layouts in design. In print media, designers often use grids to organize and display material. Grids are also an integral element of user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) design. Web pages, mobile apps and other digital interfaces all use grid systems as the basic structure for their designs.
Grids are an invaluable asset when it comes to designing, as they can provide enhanced readability, helpful information architecture, and a framework for responsive design. This consequently leads to a better user experience overall.
The Story Behind of the Grid
Designers can use grid systems to create an organized look. This is a popular approach that was initially used in print design and is now becoming increasingly commonplace in interactive design. Not only does it make the process simpler, but grids can also help designers craft a consistent experience on multiple devices with diverse screen sizes. Ultimately, this makes for happy users who are able to find what they’re looking for quickly and easily.
The grid system is a powerful tool with benefits for both designers and users alike. By organizing page elements into columns and rows, we can create a reliable, consistent structure within the design. For example, this column-based system makes it easier to locate text, images, and functions in the same place every time. This concept also applies to maps; each landmark appears in an exact spot based on its coordinates. Without these organized grids, our GPS systems would be chaotic!
Designers use the grid system to organize content on both physical and virtual pages. It is especially useful when designing for the web, as different browsers handle information in various ways and screens vary in size. However, creating a grid system for the virtual page requires some extra effort to ensure that elements are arranged properly. Though more complex than layout for printing purposes, simplifying design with grids remains key in both digital and print media.
Though grid systems have their critics, they can be an effective way to organize information and maximize readability. Balance is the key; without sacrificing creativity entirely, designers can still use grids to make content easier to consume. By utilizing mathematics and precision, grids can create minimalistic layouts that draw little attention away from the main focus – the content.
Why Are Grid Systems Important?
1- it will help you to Collaborate with other designers
Grids can be a powerful tool when it comes to collaborating with other designers. A grid gives an underlying structure to your design and helps guide elements into their proper positions. This helps ensure that if someone else jumps in and takes over, they will know what kind of structure you had planned for the design and where various elements should go. Utilizing grids in this way can make the process much smoother and reduce miscommunication between designers.
2- it will Make Your Job Quicker
Designers are often looking for ways to optimize their workflow and improve efficiency. Grids can provide an invaluable aid to the design process, helping designers produce better quality work in less time. Grids act a as guides—directing users on where is best to place, position, and scale elements–rather than randomly moving components around until a satisfactory composition appears. In this way, grids serve as valuable resources that help create aesthetically pleasing results quickly and efficiently.
3- It will Keep Your Content Organized
Grid systems are a great way to ensure your page design remains clean and clear. Grids promote alignment, which is critical for creating orderly and organized layouts. By setting up a consistent grid system, elements on the page can be positioned in logical locations while also providing symmetry and structure.
4- it will help you to Balance Your Design
Grids are a great tool to create even and consistent layout. They divide designs into columns that make it easier to judge which side is more densely populated. Employing grids allows designers to create harmonious shapes and proportions.
5- Grids can encourage white space
White space plays a vital role in modern web design by providing visual separation between different elements. By leaving empty spaces between graphics, you can give each element its own focal point, creating a pleasing viewing experience. A grid layout is an effective way of achieving this look. Divide your page into columns and rows, then place necessary elements; leave the rest to fill in with white space for optimal results. For an example that uses an abundance of white space, take a look at the Apple landing page – there are empty segments within the outermost grid layout that help to create this effect.
6- It will help you to create Pleasing Designs
Using grids can often provide designers—as well as artists, photographers, and more—with a way to create aesthetically pleasing designs. One popular technique is the rule of thirds, which involves dividing the canvas into equally sized vertical and horizontal lines. Where these lines cross are deemed focal points for design elements; hence making for a mathematically satisfying composition.
Why do we need grids?
When setting up a project or endeavor, it is important to define all criteria and requirements before taking the first steps. An effective approach is to use grids to jumpstart the creative process and provide an intentional starting point. This helps reduce the risk of experiencing a creative block when creating any kind of piece. As an artist knows, nothing can be more disheartening than getting stuck in technique or ideas. Grids offer a valuable tool that helps overcome this obstacle.
1- To have Efficiency
A grid provides structure to a layout, helping us make decisions while streamlining the design process. We can quickly and accurately add content to our design in a way that is in line with the overall vision of that layout without adding unnecessary complexity. Grids serve as useful guides when placing elements and information, allowing us to focus on other important aspects of the design.
2- To have Clarity
Entropy is an inevitable phenomenon. In nature, systems tend to move from higher levels of order to disorder over time. As humans, it often seems like our mission is to fight this natural decline into disorder. We seek order in social structures, material possessions and so much more. This endeavor is a fundamental part of the human experience—we attempt to make sense of the chaotic world around us until entropy steps in yet again.
How to choose and set up your grid?
1- Know your needs.
It’s important to select the ideal grid for your project. You should take into consideration what kind of grid would best serve your purpose — column, modular, or hierarchical — before deciding. Depending on how one item needs to be emphasized more than others in a page, a hierarchical grid may be the right choice, such as for online news platforms. If the content you need to display is highly variable, you might be better off using either a basic column or modular grid since these give greater design flexibility — the elements and content can span multiple columns or modules or just one, as needed.
2- Work on it carefully.
When creating a grid, it’s important to factor in your screen size. A 12-column grid works well for most laptop or desktop designs; however, you’ll need to consider that the number of columns will decrease as the device size decreases. Before you start designing, take time in to set up your grid according to different device sizes. There are plenty of wireframing tools such as Sketch and Figma available for quick and easy setup and editing. So set aside the time to get your grids in order, and your design process will go much more smoothly.
Common types of grids
The modular grid system is an organized structure comprised of columns and rows intersecting to form modules. This layout provides the foundation for fine-tuned, consistent designs with precise measurements.
The column grid system is a standard framework used to arrange elements on a template. It consists of an ordered set of rectangular modules which are placed in designated areas on the page.
Manuscript, or ‘block’, grids are a common form of grid used in print media. This type of grid is composed of a single, rectangular grid which may be divided into more than one area. This kind of layout offers a great opportunity to organize text and illustrations in a visually-appealing manner.
The hierarchical grid system is a groundbreaking design with its use of irregularly placed grids. The modules are not set according to equal spacing or columns and rows, providing greater flexibility and diversity. This bold step towards modern design has been highly influential in the graphic design industry.
Grid systems best practices for UX
1- Use white space
White space plays a critical role in design, providing breathing room and scalability. It enables you to prioritize and structure content in an effective way. In terms of quantifying white space, the material design method (which is considered the industry gold standard) relies on an 8x8pt grid for calculating it.
2- Design mobile apps
Properly designing the layout of a mobile app is an essential step in providing an optimal user experience. Responsive design ensures that the app can meet the needs and preferences of customers across different platform sizes. UX designers must practice design empathy to create an effective layout. For example, they should consider how the app appears and functions both in landscape and portrait orientations. Additionally, using grids when creating the mobile app will help ensure that elements are appropriately arranged at all dimensions.
3- Choose the correct amount of columns
User experiences should not be built with a one-size-fits-all approach. For this reason, when choosing a grid system to help optimize your content, feel free to modify the industry standard twelve-column grid to best suit your needs. To ensure a consistent and organized layout, though, keep the same gutter width across all columns.
4- Honor the golden ratio
Accurately calculated with a balance of scale, layout and length, the microdesign formula offers practical guidance for optimizing the size and length of your columns. It’s a “golden” method that can quickly give you the results you’re looking for: The golden ratio, also known as Phi (φ), is a numerical pattern that is often used in the construction of elements and designs. In terms of length and width, it states that width should be equivalent to 1.6180 times the length.
Creating an inviting landing page can be tricky – using a grid helps you simplify the process. There are four types of grids that can be utilized for best results: Block, Multicolumn, Modular, and Baseline. Using these structures to establish a visual hierarchy will help ensure that your content stands out and drives conversions. Employing grid layouts is a powerful technique and should be handled with care.
Developing a grid-based workflow can improve design quality and productivity. Grid layout adheres to principles such as balance, visual hierarchy, and white space. As people access websites from various devices, developers need to be mindful that each one possesses its own standard in terms of grid size ratio. Sketching out the ideal page layout first is recommended before using columns and rows to make your designs more aesthetically appealing. Consider incorporating grids into your workflow for increased effectiveness.
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