The other day, I came across this photo on the flickr page of Alki1, a retired graphic designer. She often posts slides of phenomenal design work, much of which would probably be considered classic. If you’ve ever taken a history of graphic design course, expect to recognize a lot of the work.
This particular photo got me thinking about my early type explorations back at Pratt Institute. I was fortunate enough to have a Type 1 professor, Karen Madsen, who stressed the use of the grid. She was such a stickler for it that she had us hand in a printout of our grid, as well as the final layout of the assignment. Sometimes, during crits, she’d even whip out her red marker and trace your grid right on top of your work, just to make sure you weren’t breaking it. I also suspect she did it to make sure you remembered that no work is sacred(at least not in her type class).
To this day, I still adhere to a grid, though not as strictly as I had back then. These days it’s more of a subconscious thing. I don’t sit down and draw out my grid, the way Madsen had us do. Still, as a designer, having an understanding of the grid and knowing how to use, as well as break it(artfully), is essential.