Layouts are there to keep us organized, mark where the elements should go, and bring the whole design together to a structure which looks good to the eye. Besides easing your life, layouts and grids can be used to create a unique personal design style, something that will have you stand out and become instantly recognizable.
When setting up the margins, integrating modules into columns and deciding on the size of the gutter, most designers use a snap-to-grid tool, which helps to see if your object is lining up with other objects in the design.
When designing a layout grid, you can either listen to symmetry, or go for asymmetric design. Symmetric design is always centered and columns are the same size, while the margins are equal to each other, so this is usually a safe way to go. If you are going for asymmetric design, then there are also some rules of balance which should be followed.
In developing the composition of your design, you would want to pay attention to the Golden Ratio, as it has been the alpha and omega for aesthetics since we know it. Another rule, very useful for both column layout and landscape, is dividing your design into nine equal blocks with four lines that intersect. The main object of your design should be placed at these meeting points where the lines come together.
If you are designing a publication, another example where layouts come very useful is to use them to adapt your pages to the bound of the book/paper, so you can make sure that by bounding the pages you don't loose any details from your design.
Why are grids essential for visual communication is best shown on Instagram nowadays. Users have been creating different layouts for their entire profile. They have been telling stories row by row, sometimes also themed by colors, creating a rainbow effect on their profile page. They've also been publishing content to create columns of photos and texts.
Even the margins play their role in designer's Instagram page. Content with borders makes a profile much easier to explore, so this segregation has definitely been revolutionary in social media. More complex style of a profile would be a collage - when your photos overlap, and here the margins play big roles, as what makes this profile beautiful is the composition and balance between images.
As we said in the first paragraph, layouts can be useful for creating your brand. If you decide to stick to your signature layout, social media is your absolute sidekick.
About the author:
Nina Petrov is an activist, poet, performer and mathematician. She communicates with the world mostly through words, movement and equations, but sometimes also by speaking very loudly. The only truth she could say about herself is that she keeps changing every day, never stops learning and interacting with her surroundings.