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Making and Breaking the Grid (Graphic Design) Hardcover – March 1, 2003

4.2 out of 5 stars 96 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Timothy Samara is a graphic designer and educator based in New York City, where he teaches at the School of Visual Arts and the Fashion Institute of Technology. He's also the author of Typography Workbook (Rockport 2004). He lives in New York's Chelsea district.
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Product Details

  • Series: Graphic Design
  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Rockport Publishers (March 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1564968936
  • ISBN-13: 978-1564968937
  • Product Dimensions: 11.3 x 9.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (96 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #232,861 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is a developed look at handling type and page (surface) layout in a simple-yet-abstract way. Using grids and ideas presented in this book (with some practise), the learning designer can begin to utilise elements once thought as simple and static in ways which add dynamism to your layouts.
For a designer such as myself, a fan of Swiss and Bauhaus, simplicity, directness, Making and Breaking the Grid is a book full of idea and potential. Although not radical per se, it is a concise look at one of the most powerful aspects of communication design out there, in my opinion. Definitely worth a look.
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Format: Paperback
What a strange publication. Divided into two sections the first explaining grid formatting with actual printed material and the second revealing how to design print without a grid.

There seems a contradiction here because the grid, used intelligently, will allow a whole range of graphic options to be presented with clarity. Some of the print examples reproduced in the first section do show this with perhaps the most useful item a grid thumbnail for each piece, unfortunately I thought it was rather too small on each spread despite being the key to explaining each format. From past experience, designing magazines, I would start work on a grid by concentrating on the text type size because it is the least flexible of all the elements on the page. This point really wasn't made enough of in the book's chapter: Grid Basics.

The reproductions show a reasonable range of design solutions, essentially print though there is an example of corporate signage. Missing are magazines (consumer or trade) timetables and the like. Without a grid this type of printed matter really wouldn't exist.

The book's contradiction, to my mind, start with the second section: 'Grid Deconstructions and Non-Grid-Based Design Projects'. The forty items shown seem to have a couple of common threads: their design is essentially arbitrary which makes them look very messy and frequently their typography (display and text) is used as a design element which makes the words unreadable. Their design is the opposite of grid stimulated creativity, in other words visual chaos.

Some of the examples are quite amazing. On page 180-181 twelve pages of a calendar are shown, totally useless as its impossible to see the days and dates.
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Format: Paperback
I had a lot of problems with this book (a) one would expect a book with the words "Making the Grid" in it's title to include some process steps that move the reader from a blank sheet and a project through an analysis needs, the construction of a grid, and then its elaboration - you can find none of that! (b) This book spends moments in paragraphs mentioning what I thought should have been graphically illustrated as an early starting point. (c) It is ultimately a showcase of other peoples finished work with a light treatment of the underlying grid (if any), but not much insight on how or why. (d) Much of this boils down to "designer's decision" without much more thought or forwarding. (e) the light condensed type on white and against some of the backgrounds make it hard to read while in motion (on the bus at night NY to NJ). (f) Even the brief treatment of each the examples left me feeling disconnected.
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Format: Hardcover
My friend designer bought this book couple of months ago. Suddenly I noticed that I can't help myself looking into that book again and again. So, despite having it not far away, I decided to buy another instance for myself.

The book covers the grid theory and usage almost perfectly. If you're engaged in brochure or booklet design, you'll find this book full of ideas and extremely helpful, no matter whether you just start with it or you have been practicing brochure design for years.
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Format: Paperback
I can't vouch for the content; it seems sound. I'm just trying to read the friggin' thing, which is quite a challenge because the body text is light grey and <9 point, in small columns. It's all very lovely from 2 feet away; the headings really stand out. The composition is subdued and attractive. You could frame some of the spreads if you wanted to. But to actually read it, well, pity those without 20-20, like myself.
4 Comments 58 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
This book is pretty sweet. Samara gives an overview of grid systems, how they are constructed and when they are used. Also, there is a large selection of example works, with cross-references within the book to other similar works.

If you're interested in implementing grids (or violating them) in your work, you should check out this book...

... but consider using a library!
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Format: Paperback
A colleague of mine had this book and I decided to check it out. I've been a designer for over 15 years and have never been so bored reading about what I do for a living. The author chooses to abuse "design speak" rather than communicate simple design concepts.

Example: "In all of these compositions the designers have relied on their senses of placement, scale, movement, and color to intuitively orchestrate visual qualities within the respective formats."

If I ever say "intuitively orchestrate visual qualities" in a sentence you have permission to drag me into the street and beat my ass with a tire iron.

If you are interested in design and want a book that is written in an accessible way I suggest this: http://www.amazon.com/Systems-Graphic-Systeme-Visuele-Gestaltung/dp/3721201450
3 Comments 42 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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