Scholarsteve’s Blog

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Grids, layers, hierarchy, transparency, modularity, patterns

I think that this reading illustrated how many elements of design can be broken down into these exact elements. I know that I could not think of one single publication produced at University Marketing and Communications that did not have several, if not all of these elements as building blocks that resulted in a final product. For example, most projects are completed in InDesign with work in Photoshop as well. Each of these programs utilizes grids for layout and making changes. Often, the grids are turned off, but even in InDesign, the element of the grid is still there in the form of guides at the top and bottom of the page. The document is laid out in modules, specified within the grid. Boxes are created for text and images, so that items can be moved as one unit if the structure of the document needs to be reevaluated or new material is provided. Transparency and patterns can be used as imagery to contribute to the identity of the piece. For example, on the viewbook, the University seal is prominent on the front but is transparent in contrast to the text that is placed above it. Hierarchy takes many forms in each of the publications. In the transparency example placed above, the transparency of the seal may suggest that the text which is over it is the first thing viewed, and it might be, but the size of the seal, though transparent, identifies the publication as an Illinois State publication. Kind of a changing hierarchy at play. The size of the text is an obvious way to establish hierarchy. Major headlines might be large, and sub categories within that headline might be smaller than the main headline but larger than the body text. Bolding an item might suggest that it is of more importance in a document. I suppose in conclusion my point is that each of the principles/elements are present in document design, whether is something we create in Word, InDesign, or write with a pen.


Now that I said pen, let me give a coupe of examples of the above elements. If it is a letter on loose leaf paper, the lines are a grid of sorts, but also serve as individual modules. Also, indenting for a paragraph can mark modules. The page has a specific hierarchy too. Users know that in the Western world that they are using a Z scan on the page, and will begin and end where the Dear XXXXX, and Sincerely XXXXX are respectively.

Understanding that these principles permeate all design allow us to consider the audience more and make responsible design decisions.


November 9, 2009 - Posted by | Eng 350

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