Ordering Disorder: Grid Design for the New World

The following is a brief lead-in to the work of Khoi Vinh, Design Director at NY Times.

HISTORY // Creating order is a intuitive. Go back in history and the fundamentals of creating things rely on lines/grids. The most simple objects and tools reflect this. Take the brick. A grid in it’s own right. You start piling up bricks and you create a grid system. The grid system becomes a wall, that creates order and unique societies.LOOK AT PRINT // The basic principles of print still apply. Using the international paper standard, leverage the grids to organize your story. For the web, you can add order, continuity and most importantly, harmony with your information. Allow your audience to predict where to find information. And make it easy to add new content consistent with what you already have in place.PROCESS BASICS // Make sure you include these steps in your process:
Research: Understand the technical, content and business constraints It’s reasonable to expect to know what you’re working with before you get started.
Prepatory Design: Use pencil sketches to try different approaches to quickly get to some ideas that may work. Use whatever form you like for this. Whether it’s pencil or Illustrator. Keep sketching to stay loose throughout. Try to do basic math calculations where you can with the space. Start with hacking away at 960×568 page. At a high level, consider the rule of thirds with 3 regions to your page. You’ve got 8 columns, which break down into 16 units.

NEXT // While anticlimactic, that’s as far as this post is going to go. But please check out these resources as you’ll find them much more compelling (and credible) in describing how to use lines and boxes.

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