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Old 07-05-2006, 04:36 AM   #1
Dav.B
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Default Baseline Grids. Who uses them?

Hi. I thought i would start my first topic with quite a boring question. I work for a publishing company that has previously shied away from using baseline grids within their magazines. However i have just been given the task to redesign one of their flagship titles and i'm thinking of using one.

What are your opinions of baseline grids? Should they be used by default in magazine design or is it entirely up to the designer? Are there advantages and disadvantages, I have used them before in other publications and i sometimes find they cause problems with the grid system.
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Old 07-05-2006, 05:41 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Dav.B
What are your opinions of baseline grids? Should they be used by default in magazine design or is it entirely up to the designer? Are there advantages and disadvantages
If they are used, then they should be used across the board, by everyone.

However, as you mentioned, they can create problems, and I never use them myself.

I do use (conceptual) grids in my design work, but work out styles for subheads (one-line and two-line, say), callouts, and other intrusions so that the main text remains on the grid. It is not that hard (unless you have lots of unusual things on the page).

And then require everyone on the production team to use the styles.

   
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Old 07-05-2006, 10:26 AM   #3
Norman Hathaway
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most magazines here in new york use them.

i prefer the freedom to break them when i want to, so i definitely always HAVE one, i just don't lock to it.

usually my page grids are built from the baseline grid up, making row and column grids that are divisible by the baseline grid.

they make life a lot easier, when you're making positioning decisions,whether you end up on the baseline grid, or a multiple or division of it.

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Old 07-05-2006, 11:32 AM   #4
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My problem with grids is when you come across a subhead. I hate the use of full line spaces for the space after and space before a subhead ... too much space. I like 2/3 of the space before the head, and 1/3 after. Problems arise when you are on a 12 point grid, and you nicely decide to give 36 points for a 14/15 point subhead, with 14 points of space before and 7 after. So 14+15+7 = 36 and all is well.

Then some clown of an author messes you up by writing a two line subhead, and now you have 14+15+15+7= 51, and nothing lines up any more. So you add a second style for two line subheads with 12 before and 6 after. Then you wind up finding a three line head, so you make another style. And in a month or two you will wind up with a four line or five line subhead.

Grids can drive you crazy.
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Old 07-05-2006, 01:08 PM   #5
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Don:

Grids can drive you crazy

When I was working for a German company, in Germany, all our routine publications had a pre-designed grid ordained bu the company's designers. Since in those days the publications were set by the printers, the only publications that were laid out strictly in accordance with the grid were those special publications that received attention from the designers. However, the grid was kept to im Prinzip, which is an elastic German formula for not being driven crazy.

I agree with you that 2/3 of a line before a heading and 1/3 after (for instance) is much better than trying to keep to integral numbers of lines. But you can add or subtract a point or two when pressed, and it probably won't be spotted.

   
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Old 07-05-2006, 01:47 PM   #6
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I agree with Michael, regarding not trying to stick to each individual line. i think of the grid as a proportional system, so if a subhead, a photo etc. doesn't sit on a baseline, it's not the end of a world.

more important that the overall 'proportion plan' reads to a viewer. if gutters, margins, columns and leading all relate - then that's all that matters.

im Prinzip!
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Old 07-05-2006, 02:08 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donmcc
My problem with grids is when you come across a subhead.
So create styles for 1-line, 2-line, etc. subheads so they float within a number of full text lines and look similar to the reader.

I forbid anything longer than 2 lines in a subhead. Or let’s say, I argue strenuously against them. After a go-round or two, editors usually cave in. Or see the light!

If they need more than two lines in a subhead, they should make the darned thing a new paragraph!



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Old 07-06-2006, 06:01 AM   #8
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if copy comes in too long - i just rewrite it. then wait to see how long it takes someone to notice.

seems to work.
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Old 07-06-2006, 06:28 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Norman Hathaway
if copy comes in too long - i just rewrite it. then wait to see how long it takes someone to notice.
Oh, yes — I have done that. And if someone noticed that a subhead, in particular, had changed, I would just say it was a “design decision” — that seemed to shut them up. <g>

   
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Old 07-06-2006, 07:51 AM   #10
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Norman:

if copy comes in too long - I just rewrite it

That could be called the humane Procrustean approach: it's all right. But you see a lot of the brutal P. approach too.

   
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