Exploring Indesign grids and guides

Design Ideas and Design Process 

For my magazine spread, I wanted to create a design that is linear and structural yet still fun and playful to the eye. I loved the idea of using primary colours and hard-edged shapes to create a retro style for the magazine.

I started off by creating the title. I chose to use the font futura because I wanted that blocky sans serif appearance for the magazine. I wanted to have a swiss design approach to my work. I used a 12-column gridline to help establish that linear layout. I organised each A4 page by the rule of thirds horizontally so I could be able to insert all 10 novels whilst including a title. Having this simple structure laid out for me, I was able to have creative freedom with the title and placement of text within each novel/sectioned area. I played a lot around with the use of complementary colours, font size, and placement of the title with how it complimented the space and image of the novel itself. For slides 2-3 specifically, I formed the rule of thirds grid and duplicated it to save time. I then rearranged the titles and sections around so then it would not appear too repetitive to the eye for viewers, yet it was still structurally similar enough to follow along with. Using the rectangular tool, creating many rectangles and box shapes helped me section off areas of text in order to make it easier for viewers to recognise which text pairs with which novel. An example of this would be my last novel in place, “Nineteen-eighty-four by George Orwell. It is clear that that text is sectioned off with that novel due to how I formatted the rectangle.

I also thought creating a separate character style of the year the book was published was a logical move, by minimizing the year of when the novels were released, I not only saved and utilised space in the magazine, but I also placed more focus on the novel and the summary text aside the novel.

Although it was not essential, I thought inputting the book club questions, or the listen recommendations in the magazine would be a good idea to create more of a magazine feel to the design, having smaller subsections enabled me to use left-justified alignments.

Software Tutorials 

My grid/guidlines

Prior to this, I did not know how to use or even turn on the grid lines. I used the Adobe Use Grids Indesign website to help me find out how to adjust the grid lines. This was really useful to me, especially when trying to align all my text and images together. I used a 12-column grid with a 5 margin and I believe this truly allowed me to have more creative freedom when designing this magazine layout because the grids allowed me to spend less time aligning and lining up all the text and images together.

Using the inspo image I found off Pinterest, I thought it would be cool to highlight the titles of books in the caption of the title. Because I did not know how to highlight a certain part of the text and I did not want to create a rectangle for each individual text to highlight, I used a tutorial from creative pro titled “Making a text highlighter”. It demonstrated to me that although there is not an actual tool on indesign that highlights text for you, using paragraph shading and adjusting the offsets and size and shapes can replicate the allusion of highlighting text. Furthermore, because you can adjust the size and shape of it, you can adjust how wide or narrow the highlight can be which I found really useful when creating that box image around certain textboxes I used in my layout.

Something I would love to work on next time is using the baseline shift. In my attempts of using it here, I really struggled given the fact that all my titles were different sizes and were arranged differently, however, if I ever do a project similar to this again, I will be sure to prioritise learning how to familiarise myself with using the baseline shift.

Resources for Research and Inspiration

As stated previously, I did some research using Pinterest to search for design ideas and styles that I was fond of, I came across this image of a fun magazine layout that I was heavily influenced by. Not only did I use the colours in my magazine, I also was heavily influenced in some of the formatting techniques or styles established in this layout as well. I loved the blockage of the yellow and the bold titles designed in this. My magazine was very much influenced by this image itself.


Like I said before, I had to do some research on learning how to highlight text on InDesign as I was unfamiliar on how to do so myself, I found this website more helpful than others online because it gave a step-by-step tutorial whilst seeming very updated to how InDesign is structured now. As the majority of my text within the magazine is highlighted, my design would not look how it is now without this crucial skill I learned.

Learning Throughout the Module 

Some skills I’ve learnt throughout the module would be certainly learning and understanding the basic uses of all three softwares: Photoshop, Indesign, and Illustrator. However, I also managed to learn more in-depth skills and techniques such as cutting out images using paths and lines, using grid lines and paragraph styles on InDesign, as well as familiarising myself with paths and vectors in illustrator. Although I am still very new to using these softwares, I am feeling more comfortable using it after each time or task I have achieved.