Jan 21, 2010

Design Tip: Dividing the Workspace Using Guidelines

When working in most graphic editing programs, one is given the ability to align align align. It is one of the fundamentals of the four concepts of design: Color, Repetition, Alignment and Proximity. I think the last two stand out the most for me and it’s important to understand as well as incorporate these concepts into design.

I would like to point out that I am, in turn, speaking about design and not art as a whole. Art to me does not necessarily have to be balanced, but in a good design, I was taught to balance everything, even in terms of contrasting sizes or color. I have noticed over the years that more and more people require and request balance in most of the work I do.

Now consider the alignment guides that are used in Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign and other programs. When using proportions, lets say; in terms of equal distances for a pamphlet we need to divide the page equally. A handout style pamphlet traditionally has 3 sections on each side and therefore 2 folds. These two folding lines are where we would like to place our guides [or guidelines] to equally divide 3 sections. If you take 11 inches and divide by 3, you come up with 3.6666 . . . so there is a dilemma.

The solution is quite easy but for some reason it took me a very long time to notice it: Add additional guidelines, to serve as markers at the end of the page, and within these (outermost) guidelines we can equally distribute the other guides. Just take the outer most guides, line them up with the page’s edge. Then select all the guides together and select the “Horizontal Distribute Center” button shown in this graphic.

Hope this was helpful to anyone who works with a lot of layout!

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