Graphic design layout refers to the way in which we arrange the elements on a page which make up the content of a design. The aim of layout is both to convey the message correctly and to present information in a logical, coherent way making the important elements stand out.
Layout basically means the arrangement of predetermined items such as image, text and style on a page. It establishes the overall appearance and relationships between the graphic elements to achieve a smooth flow of message and eye movement for maximum effectiveness or impact.
You just decide on placement, color, text, etc for items you already have.
Graphic layout plays a very important role in creating and achieving a successful design that easily attracts potential customers, is user-friendly, easy to understand has a universal appeal.
A layout is the heart of any design. No matter how skilled you are there are chances that you might find it hard to try to fit the elements onto the page because they just don’t look or feel right.
It is therefore extremely important to stick to these layout rules to create the best designs.
The number one rule in the layout is to balance all your elements so that the message is not distorted.
Most designers see an invisible grid running through all their designs. In modern design, clean grid lines have become popular and almost impossible to avoid.
There are a few simple reasons for this: grids make your designs cleaner, more efficient, and easier to adapt.
Grids bring organization not only to the design but to the process of creating the design.
Say you want to create a poster for a touring rock band. Create a strong grid and if the dates, times, images, and colors all change, your basic designs will feel related. Instant consistency and less time updating and adjusting.
They speed up the design process by helping designers decide where content should be placed rather than where it could be placed.
When talking about a page layout, graphic designers often employ distinguished layouts according to their preferences. We will go over them below.
The Rule of Thirds is inescapable in design. It’s a fundamental guideline that’s so simple and effective, that it often feels like a cheat: divide your design into three rows and three columns.
The points where the vertical and horizontal lines meet form natural guidelines for where you should place your subject and supporting elements.
Struggling with finding balance in your designs? The Rule of Thirds is about to become your best friend.
For the clearest examples, look at photographs. In the example below, the focal points (the tree and horizon) are perfectly aligned with the grid created by the Rule of Thirds. If the tree was dead center horizontally and the mountains were directly in the vertical center, the composition would not be so pleasing.
Choosing the best grid will depend on what kind of design will you be working on. Designs with lots of text, need layout grids. Designs with lots of abstract color and shape compositions do better with the rule of thirds or golden mean.
Templates exist to save you precious grid-building time.
The use of large headlines grabs the reader’s attention, while the sub-headings allow you to see an obvious hierarchy of information. This means you can easily get the gist of the information, without needing to read the whole piece.
So when planning a graphic design layout, you should make sure that the layout has a sense of hierarchy in its type.
The eye generally needs a place to rest or something of interest to hold it, otherwise, people will look at your design and quickly move on.
Say you take a photograph of your mom at a family reunion. Your purpose is to bring attention to the moment and the joy of the gathering by making your mom the subject and focal point of your composition.
To communicate the message to the viewer that your mom is the focal point, you want to use scale and emphasis.
Figuring out the focal point of the design will give your eye the guide it requires to structure the composition, as well as organically build a hierarchy. In the design to the left, the focal point is the ridiculous cake—our eyes go right to it and then read the rest for context.
Isn’t everything in life a search for balance?
Design is no different. Designers must constantly juggle different elements to find harmony in their design.
Imagine an invisible set of scales in each design and make sure you don’t tip the scales by cloistering elements on one side of your grid.
The website design above does this cleanly by marrying large type elements (“What We Do” and “Our Works”) with smaller, equal-sized paragraphs of longer explanatory copy.
Keep in mind that in terms of composition, white space (or negative space) is also an element.
White space gives our eyes paths to follow through the design. Give each element on the page some space to breathe and balance between positive and negative space will emerge organically.
You can see how moving the elements in the web design above closer together (thus shrinking the negative space and disrupting the balance of the piece) makes the design claustrophobic and ultimately unsuccessful.
Now I know you have heard at least two of these rules already, but this next one I am not so sure of.
Ahhh lastly, The Rule of Odds. I know I can score the internet and find articles saying there are many more rules – and there are. but these are the most important ones, at least to me.
So the Rule of Odds says that pleasing compositions seem to often have an odd number of elements placed in the foreground, most commonly three.
The two objects on the outside both balance the focal point in the center, creating a simple, natural balance.
This is often true in logo design, where a centered mark might be offset on either side by the company name, like in Needle Records’ logo.
In design, rules are made to be broken but you need to know the rules before breaking them.
However there are some rules that endure and for a majority of jobs, the desire will not be to shock, but to communicate ideas clearly.
So without further ado, let’s learn the different types of page layouts.
There are 10 types of page layouts discussed here.
For homework, you were asked to take in a print ad, like a mailer, or something you get in the mail.
You will need that homework assignment for this assignment, so please get it out.
As we analyze the ads and determine which page layout they most closely resemble we will also need to figure out the color scheme, and type variations for that current ad.
Then, during a roundtable discussion, we will come up with a faux company name, product, heading, and subheading.
Using the information from both pieces create an ad for the faux company’s product.
PRINT OUT the original ad and YOUR NEW ad – put them on the Bulletin Board stacked.