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Grid Systems: Principles of Organizing Type (Design Briefs) Paperback – August 12, 2004
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"The grid can appear complex, cumbersome, and rigid at times for young designers and students. Grid Systems challenges these notions with Elam's down to earth approach." --Speak Up, January 10, 2007
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(a) if you leaf quickly through it, you'll see lots of grid thumbnails, which may give you the impression that a range of different grid possibilities is carefully explored and explained;
(b) you'll also find several design pieces (pictures of posters, ads etc) with transparent overlays containing grids, suggesting that each piece is carefully analysed and explained;
(c) it's published by Princeton Architectural Press, so hey, it must be good.
Unfortunately, if you do buy the book for one of the reasons above, you're in for a lot of disappointment.
You'll find that the actual text is like a series of quick notes such as what you'd expect to see in a slide show, except that there's no speaker or presenter to give you the actual explanations and help you make sense out of all the images. In other words, you'll be confronted with a few bits of text that don't really teach you much besides a few (very few) basic concepts and which don't even properly explain the images. (And if you really believe that an image is worth a thousand words, good luck deciphering the message.)
Most pictures of ads and such are accompanied by transparent overlays; some of these contain lots of lines, circles and crosshairs. You'd think there's an explanation somewhere as to what all the lines, crosshairs and whatnot mean, but that's not the case.
Take the Nike ad on pages 64-5, for instance. The overlay has a complex grid with four darker areas, and five even darker ones, plus external lines that seem to indicate that some sort of proportion exists (and is therefore going to be explained).Read more ›
Having used grids for years I'm surprised that there is so much confusion but that was before I read through Kimberley Elam's book. The straightforward becomes the obscure despite the good intentions. The most useful parts are the pages that use a see-through overlay, revealing the essence of the grid and nicely some disasters, too. What could be simpler than the two examples shown on page thirty-eight and nine, Christof Gassner's 1960 redesign of one page of a theater program, from the dull and confusing to something so elegant and simple. What is really interesting about the page is that it is all done with type only. Page forty-five uses another overlay for the contents spread of a book (designed by Drenttel Doyle Partners in 1988) the see-through reveals a simple grid but the actual spread is a complete mess with type everywhere, even the three words 'Table of contents' is letterspaced in two typefaces, roman and sans.Read more ›
If only my instructors had been armed with Kimberly Elam's "Grid Systems." Elam has written a well-organized survey of the basics of understanding the grid. The book acts as a course guide, organized into five sections, or exercises. She opens the book with an introductory exercise that explains the grid, proportions, use of ornamental elements, and negative space. The exercises increase in complexity, later covering horizontal, vertical, and diagonal compositions, and finally explaining the many factors that affect hierarchy. Each of the exercises presents several options that fall within the well-considered constraints of the project. Elam systematically exhausts the design possibilities of each project with well-qualified rationale. Peppered throughout the lessons is analysis of more complex and expressive layouts designed by immortals such as Jan Tschichold and Herbert Bayer, as well as work by contemporary design firms. The analysis of each specimen is accompanied with a vellum overlay page that clearly defines the grid and compositional dynamics of the layout.
"Grid Systems" strips the confusion from the mystery of designing with a grid. It teaches constraint while illustrating the unexpected freedom the grid can afford, and will surely become a required textbook in typography classes everywhere.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great resource that I still go to at times for inspirationPublished 11 months ago by Amazon Customer
Very cool book. Printed with semi-transparent overlay pages. Super informative. If you want to be a designer, get it.Published 14 months ago by Tregg F.
Required school book so it is as expected. Delivered as expect too Good Stuff!Published 14 months ago by Joyce Shiffert
This book reads more like a college course syllabus/outline, lightly glossing over topics with a little text and a few examples. Read morePublished 21 months ago by KC
A waist of time and money. DO NOT buy!!!
I wish there's a zero star for this item.