Principles of Hierarchy and Grid Structures in Graphic Design

Our talk with Paul was focussing on how important it is to maintain a sense of order in your work.  Whether it’s a poster, a piece of newsprint or for a magazine, a basic structure will be in there somewhere.  We were asked to bring in a piece of page layout that we particularly liked, and there were several that stood out.  Some of the more minimal ones were very appealing, but even the busier ones still maintained their order and hierarchy by using a grid structure (usually in inDesign).

Prioritising your text into what’s most and least important is the first crucial step in creating an aesthetically pleasing piece of page layout.  By placing the text into a hierarchy you give focus and it shows importance.

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When initially presented with a hideous pile of text with no discernible features, it is easy to get lost and see no way out of the pile of text you’ve found yourself in.  Once you’ve picked out various bits of information (organised into primary, secondary, tertiary and fourth line information), you can start to play with things like size and weight to highlight importance, and by using different alignments and spacing you create contrast.

I realised today how important the use of a grid structure is in maintaining order in your huge pile of text, and to prevent bits of it straying and being too crowded and falling off into white space oblivion and just generally looking a mess.


A useful way of creating dynamism in your piece is to use pullout quotes.  These quotes aren’t necessarily the most important information or anything truly groundbreaking that needs to be highlighted, but by pulling out a few words from the copy you can use this to draw the reader’s eye and create something eye-catching and aesthetically pleasing.

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Following this, we’ve been tasked with creating a piece of interesting A4 page layout, something with ‘passion’ and something that is visually engaging.  We’ll see how this goes…

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