Grids: Both A Good Design and Usability Idea
I love newspaper design — before the World Wide Web, one of the jobs I had was as a editor of a community newspaper in Garden Grove, California, and designing pages around a regimented grid was not only challenging, but fun, because it was designing within in that phone booth and coming up with something cool was rewarding.
Most good design and screen-based user interfaces follow some kind of grid — whether it be the orderly layout of items in a form, or a multi-column design of a blog. Grids bring order, and the grids don’t necessarily have to be symmetrical to be good design (the New York Times website is a great example).
For newspaper design, the closest guide to designing content sites, asymmetrical grids and number of columns were not only accepted, but encouraged, and most major newspapers are 5 or 7 columns wide. Peruse News Designer to see examples in the front pages of world newspapers.
- Smashing Magazine has a really good article on creative usage of grids
- An article at A List Apart about thinking outside the grid
- Design By Grid, a resource with a lot of links