LA 10.3 – Layout – Basic Principles of Layout

After reading the textbooks and working with this task, it took me a while to understand the structure in the grid, but after working with the pages for a while, I got it. Here I’m presenting my findings.

The task

  1. Take a magazine, newspaper or book that includes images and text. Lay tracing paper over the top of three spreads (both left-hand and right-hand pages). Using a pencil and ruler, carefully trace the grid underlying the page layouts. Remember to remove specific text elements or images, and to only draw the grid lines. Note column widths and margin sizes at the top, bottom, and to the left and right of the main body of text. Is your document based on a two-column, three-column, or another type of grid? Which elements stay the same on each page, and which change?
  2. Publish your findings to your WordPress blog and provide photos or scans of your exercise.


My findings

For this assignment, I have been using an article from the women’s magazine Kamille issue 9 – 2018 page 36-41 designed on three spreads without advertisements. Hence, the article contains both three versos (left-hand pages) and three rectos (right hand pages). The article is about a family woman travelling alone on vacations around the world on a regular basis, giving some tips on do’s and dont’s.


Spread 1 (page 36-37)


The first page (page 36) is a verso and it contains a full page colour photo with the article’s title, ingress, credits line and an image caption. There is also a page number and the magazines name at the bottom of the page – in the footer. On page 37, a recto, we can clearly see a page with structured paragraph text in a two-column grid. There are also some paragraph headings inside the text written in UPPERCASE, bold-styled letters.

At the top-right hand corner of the page, the head, it’s written «Reportasje» (reportage), telling us what kind of content we can expect. There is a picture in the top right corner, an image caption below the photo, some text listed up on the right hand side of the second column – the fore edge. In the footer there is the page number and the magazines name – placed exactly the same place as on page 36, thus mirrored.


I first started tracing all the different elements in the spread, trying to reveal some consistency between the two pages and define all the elements to be able to define which elements stay the same on each page and which changes.


It was a bit tricky to make the magazine and the tracing paper stay still as I drew, but I decided that ok was good enough to find the principles in this task.

Spread 2 (page 38-39)


Page 38 is a verso and contains three colour photos at the top of the page, one full-width and two smaller once placed on top of the full-width one. The paragraph text is based on a the same two-column grid as the previous pages and we can recognise the paragraph headings in the text written in uppercase, bold-styled letters from the previous spread. The margin between the columns seems to be the same as on the previous spread. The top of the image caption is placed at the same distance from the bottom of the picture as on page 37. It’s also written in the same font style, but the alignment of the text varies between center aligned and left aligned.

Between the pictures and the text-columns, there is a text excerpt written in uppercase, regular (or maybe light) weighted letters. The excerpt text is aligned center within the text box, not following the column grid-system, but this is an example of creative freedom that is well balanced despite not using the grid system.

Below the small picture to the far left on the page, there is an image caption written in the fore edge. The font has a hand-written style, slightly tilted (about 5-10 degrees). This gives us a feel of «traveling diary» and is another element of  creative design in this spread. The variety and creativeness is just as important as the grid in a design – as long as it’s thoughtfully and well executed.

In the footer we again see the page number and the magazines name «Kamille» placed at the exact same place as on the previous verso (page 36).

Page 39 is a recto with a text box on the top left side of the page, a picture on the top right hand side of the page and paragraph text based on the same two-column grid. The text-box is placed inside the same column as the paragraph-text below. The grey base box behind the text in the text box goes approximately 7 mm outside the text box on all edges (top, bottom, left and right). This is to frame the box and make it stand out from the rest of the text on the page. It contains some travel tips on where to travel and is not a direct part of the rest of the article where as the traveling woman is telling about her travels.

The photo is going all the way to the edge of the page as the photos on the previous pages. The image caption text box is placed below the photo with the same distance from the picture as on the other pages. The text style is also recognisable. Page number and magazine name in the footer is consistent.


I put the tracing paper drawn from the previous spread (page 36-37) on top of the second spread to see if any elements would fit on these two pages (page 38 and 39). Taking in consideration these grid drawings are not too precise, I find that the grid from the previous recto fits perfectly well to the recto on spread two. The grid is based on a two-column system and the head, fore edge, back edge, foot and column widths seems to be exactly the same. The page number and the name of the magazine is also placed at the same spot.

The first page on the first spread (page 36) with the full-page colour photo and the articles title is a bit difficult to compare with. Even though it seems that the articles name, ingress and credits line also follows the grid. I can see that the right hand edge of these text boxes follows the line of the right hand side of the first column on the verso. The same with the image caption on page 36 – the right edge of the text box follows the right hand edge of column two (towards the back edge).


After comparing the first and the second grid, I took a blank sheet of tracing paper and drew a grid on spread two (page 39-40). I tried to reveal the grid structure underlying the page layout.


Then I experimented with the different elements, spaces, lines and edges, continuing my research for elements in the master-page layout. The bottom of the pictures and the top of the paragraph boxes is aligned in this spread.


Spread 3 (page 40-41)


Page 40 consist of a framed box on the top containing a picture, an image caption, a sub heading and a text box. The paragraph text is based on the consistent two-column grid, and the well-known page number and magazine name is placed as on all the previous pages. There is a text box in the second column with a grey base colour box as we saw on page 39. This box is also placed within the two-column grid system, but the column is narrower (about 50 mm) than the regular column width (73 mm). Even though this box is totally within the edges of the second column on the page. This is also a text box with tips on books and movies about travelling alone, and the coloured box again makes the text stand out from the rest of the story.

On the fore edge there is a text box placed the same way as the text box in the fore edge on page 37. Even though the font size and colour are different, the system is the recognisable as same, keeping a certain distanse to the left and the right edges.

Finally the last  page, page 41, is slightly different from the previous pages. This page consist of a full page photo and two text columns. The column are placed to the left on the page – not following the grid system and column width and margin space from the previous 5 pages. I get a sense of a new three-column grid system with a (naturally) narrower column width (about 50 mm). It seems that the margin between the columns is kept the same as on the two-column grid pages (about 4 mm).




The first five pages in this document are based on the same two-column grid, where as the last and sixth page is based on another grid and I believe it is a three column grid. Below, I have drawn the basics of the grid system, the column width is 73 mm, the margin is 4 mm, the fore edge is 54 mm, the back edge is 20 mm, the head is 16 mm and the foot is 16 mm.

As to do with the grid – the page header, footer and fore and back edge stays the same on all pages. As with the design elements, the page number and the magazines name stays the same on all pages. Therefore these are all elements of the same master page in the layout design.

As there are both pages based on a two-column and pages based on a three-column system, this is a changing element. The placement of the photos, boxes and the image captions are also changing elements.






  • «Overview of Layout» – lesson from Noroff School
  • «Layout Part 1» and «Layout part 2» – video lessons from Noroff School
  • «InDesign CC2017 Essential Training» – Lynda course with David Blatner


  • Graphic Design School: A Foundation Course for Graphic Designers Working in Print, Moving Image and Digital Media, Unit 2 (page 32-61), Fundamentals of Composition.


  • Kamille, Issue nr 9, July 2018, page 36-41



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