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Lay it Out

Lay it Out

Mike Lenhart

As graphic designers, many of the projects we work with are the layouts of type and image. These projects are mainly done for the printed or electronic page. There are many ways to tackle this type of project, but there are 3 main factors to bear in mind – Emphasis, Unity, and Balance.

Emphasis is the focal point that you desire to have as the main area of interest on the page. Where will the eye go first?

The focal point can be type or image, but it must be the most important and interesting area of the layout.

Unity comes into play as the design needs to hold together – it must be unified. You can repeat elements such as color or shape which brings the layout together.

Then there’s balance. The piece needs to be balanced visually. There has to be an equal distribution of weight on the page. You can usually tell pretty easily when something isn’t quite right. Sometimes, simply by moving elements around or by scaling the size and shape of things, balance can be achieved.

The Focal Point

Some additional items about the focal point should be noted. Make sure the focal point is the brightest or biggest area or in a different color. Make it a different shape or isolate it. Make it a different texture or make it sharp if the other elements are hazy. There are many ways to create an effective focal point. Have fun with it.

The Grid

We all learn about the grid in school. It is one of the best ways to work with the three factors of successful page design mentioned above. A grid is basically a guide, with vertical and horizontal lines on the page that help you place the elements effectively. When you start a new layout, you can usually use the software’s guide function to set up your margins and guides. In multi-page layouts, if you keep the grid consistent throughout, you’ll find it a lot easier to design.

Layout is fun, especially when you can design magazine spreads or annual reports. It can be challenging, but it can also take your design skills to the next level. Nevertheless, it will always make you a better person. (Smile).


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