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Example of modular grid used for project

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This project involved laying out a dense amount of information using a modular grid to create a poster. The project concept revolved around the content given, i.e., an excerpt from Edward Tufte’s book, Envisioning Information. This excerpt discusses how data can be perceived on a macro and a micro level.

The poster must be accessible on two levels in order to be successful. First, the content arrangement had to be intriguing enough to draw in the viewer. Second, once the poster acquires the viewer’s attention, the content had to be readable. If the line length is too long or the body copy is too bulky, the poster won’t be able to retain the viewer’s attention.

In addition, the poster had to be laid out using a modular grid: each square in the grid 15 picas on a side with a 1 pica gutter.

My poster went through several roughs, from arranging all the images on the outside forming a container for the body copy to using the diagonals in a couple of the images to direct the viewer. None of these really worked well until I decided to use just one image as the focus. I then arranged the rest of the images in the grid along the bottom and broke up the mass of pictures with the reference text. I added a screen of the black and white drawing of Paris to create visual interest and reduce the starkness of the white background.

Final poster for project 6

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The body copy worked better in three columns, instead of two. Thirty-one picas felt too long to read. After several trials, I realized the reference text looked better at the same point size as the body copy.

I chose the set the title using all caps for the word ‘micro’ and all lower case for the word ‘macro’ as another visual hook to draw in the viewer. I think it works well because the idea behind “Micro and Macro Readings” is to relay data on two levels of equal importance. Setting size-descriptive words in cap sizes opposite to their meanings negates the antithesis of the words and visually represents them as equals.


front page of On (Design) Bullshit

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After researching grids (see previous post), this next assignment entails creating a magazine layout for a blog article. This article, written by Michael Bierut and entitled On (Design) Bullshit, first appeared on the Design Observer blog in May 2005. Mr. Bierut discusses the use of bullshit by creatives in “selling” an idea, the merits of using bullshit, and how creatives react when bullshit is called on what they’ve said. It is a very entertaining read.

The grid for this layout is a standard 4-column grid with 1p6 gutters. This is not a modular grid as there are only columns and no designated rows. Nevertheless, I maintained a consistency in the horizontal realm across all pages.

I decided to go with an understated design reminiscent of literary magazines. I used Garamond, 11 pt with 13.2 pt leading, for the body copy and DIN for the heading, byline, and pull quotes, etc. The pull quotes are set at 8 pt with 9.6 pt leading.

Middle spread of the On (Design) Bullshit magazine layout

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Literary magazines tend to have a lot of white space for an opulent look so I chose to layout the body copy across two columns in the center of the page. The pull quotes (actual readers’ comments from the blog post) are placed in the margins with full justification for a clean look. The body copy is left justified with a ragged right edge for easier readability.

Back page of On (Design) Bullshit magazine layout

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I purchased the images from iStockphoto. I chose to use photos of Venetian carnival masks because they are typically beautiful, but could be masking something quite ugly. Kind of like some instances of bullshit.

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