Friday, July 17, 2009

Creating effective Web designs through the use of Grids

by Lilo Website Design

Mathematics is often closely related to the arts. Unfortunately many people are under the impression that structure and method will limit creative expression when in reality the two often compliment one another.

In Web Design, mathematical principles such as grids can aid the designer during the creative process. Using grids for arranging layout types and structuring content is a well-known method that is gaining popularity in the field of web design.

Intentional design plays an important role in Web Development and in this article we look at the benefits of grid systems and the effective use there-of in design.

What is a grid? In basic terms, the grid is a system used for aligning visual objects on a framework of regularly spaced vertical and horizontal lines. Grids enable designers to find an initial visual platform for the layout and design of graphical elements on a page.

Using grids in Web Design: In web design, functionality and aesthetics go hand-in-hand. One of the advantages of using a Grid-system during the design process is that it creates visual balance, enhancing the overall appeal of your site.

As with any other art form, mastering the usage of the Grid is something that requires both time and practice. The benefits of grid-based Web Design:

Grids are useful for rationalising nonsensical visual content and if used properly it can enhance site-usability and impact. If the appearance of your website is accessible and appealing to online users, very little will prevent them from using your website as a platform for decision-making. Listed below are some of the benefits related to the use of grid design:

* Using grids will help you to think relational about the different elements on your page.

* It introduces systematic thinking into the creative process.

* Grids will prevent you from isolating elements in your design -forcing you to come up with a solution that will work as whole. * The grid functions as a valuable reference point from where you can exercise better control over your design as a whole.

Approaching grid-design The Rule of Thirds "The Rule of Thirds" enables you to divide a space into thirds, both vertically and horizontally through a grid of rectangles. It is widely used as a compositional theory in photography, film and fine art.

"The Rule of Thirds" is a simple way in which you can construct a grid - but the following factors should be considered before you start with you design:

1. Targeted Audience: Understanding the nature and habits of your online audience will make your design intentional.

2. Content: The content of the website will help you to choose an appropriate grid for your design.

3. Images and Icons: Your grid must be designed to make those icons and images on your website as user-friendly as possible.

4. Format: Once you have a clear understanding of all the above, you can begin to make choices about the format of your design.

5. Fonts: Using the correct font in web design is extremely important. The font should enhance the general site content and not divert users from taking in the content.

There are many different ways of designing a grid and the nature of your grid-design will vary from one project to another. Grid-designs can be exciting and there is no reason for you to re-use the same familiar grid-template when you are given the creative leverage to come up with something fresh and unique.

About the Author

Lilo is a multidiscipline agency delivering expert and cost effective solutions. Our service offerings include usability and design, web development, e-Marketing, application development, e-Commerce, search engine optimisation (SEO), hosting and a range of other interactive products.