Underlying Grid Structure

A good way to analyse a magazines structure is by attempting to work out the column structure. To achieve this I overlaid a magazine spread with tracing paper and tried to break down the layout structure by identifying the number of columns, gutter size, margins, and other divisions within the layout.

It was interesting to see that the first impressions of a layout maybe be very different to how they are actually structured. For example you may see an article with just two columns of text on each page you may think they only used two columns but in fact it was actually a 6 column layout with the text laid out in two combinations of three columns, thus creating the appearance of just two columns. The reason for this is that having more columns as an underlying layout allows for more creativity within the design and diversity through out the magazine.

I took a magazine article that had a clean design to it and placed some tracing paper. At first I tried looking for a page that seemed to be obviously using a lot of columns in order to get the underlying structure. I found a contents page at the back which appeared to be a 12 column structure. It was a bit difficult getting the exact measurements specially since the layout of this page was very different to the rest so I went back to looking at a body page in one of the articles I found one with what looked like 3 columns at first. Because of the captions at the bottom of the page it was quickly apparent that the layout was actually made up of 6 columns.

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After measuring the distance between each column and measuring the distance between each text column I was able to work out the column widths (3.3 cm) and gutter size (0.4 cm). By placing the columns down at equal spacing I was able to start working out the rest of the layout giving me the margin spacing, of (0.7cm on the left, 1.5 cm on the right and a 0.6 on top and bottom). I also looked at other divisions in the layout going horizontally through out the page, to do this I looked at the height of where each article was starting as well as the placement of the images on the page. Through this I was able to make out that the layout was separated into four horizontal sections. Some images used sometimes did not fit within these four sections but the reason for this is because the image source might not be their own and therefore it wouldn’t be suitable to change the image proportions.

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Once my layout was complete I was able to use that underlying structure and place it over any other page in the magazine and it would sit correctly within the design. That way I was sure that I had correctly broken down the structure of the magazine layout. Since I chose a page on the left to do the original tracing of the layout, it had to be flipped over (mirror image) for it to fit with the pages on the right side.

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