Thursday, March 04, 2010

Layout: Graphic Design Referenced

Day 14/150

"Throughout the myriad disciplines in graphic design and it's numerous manifestations, one fundamental remains constant: layout. No matter what the project is--big or small, online or printed, single- or multi-page, flat or three-dimensional, square or round--images and/or text must be placed and organized consciously. Layout can be objectively described as the physical properties (spacing , sizing positioning) and arrangement of the design elements within a determined area and, ultimately, as the finished design. This leads to the subjective assessment of how effectively those properties are arranged within that area--and to heated discussions among designers. While a layout can be executed in infinite ways, a few principles must be taken into consideration so informed decisions can be made on how to exploit it."
Graphic Design, Referenced: A Visual Guide to the Language, Applications, and History of Graphic Design, p. 23
The web is a particularly peculiar canvas, and this quote gets to the heart of why it is especially challenging. Working on a layout relies on working "within a determined area", but the area available to a web designer is determined according to different dimensions than other kinds of graphic design. For a print piece I might understand that I'm working on a sheet of paper with a fixed size of, for example 8.5" x 11". A web designer's page varies from viewer to viewer, and even moment to moment as a viewer can resize the browser window at any time. I guess a web designer just needs to focus on how elements are arranged in relation to the other elements, within contexts of classes of potential uses, be it mobile phone, netbook and tablet, or full sized widescreen display.

The "150 Days" series is a post-per-day review of design topics to help me brush up on skills and become a better designer and new media producer as part of my career reboot. 

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