Grid System as Backbone of Every Good Design. Part 2

12-column modular grid for a children magazine, and more.

In part 1, I told about creation grid system for a magazine. And why the right modular grid is a basis of a good design, as a backbone of every good layout.

Now let us take a look how 12-column modular grid was adopted for Children Magazine Noev Kovcheg (Noah’s Ark), which is published in Rovno (Ukraine).

Noev Kovcheg is a kids’ magazine full of great stories. It’s packed with fairy tales, poems, stories and much more — all beautifully written and illustrated, with puzzles, crafts, games and activities in too!

Designing magazine for kids we asked ourselves: should we use a grid system in the magazine or to reject the grid completely?

We said — yes, the grid is really important. Page layout typically involves a lot of placement, rearranging and formatting of elements. And there is a risk that using a free-form methodology can result in a lack of visual balance on the pages.

Let’s start from the beginning

Back in 1990, the journal was published 6 times a year in Russian language, in black-and-white, A5 format. From 1990 to 1993, the Noev Kovcheg magazine has no a computer layout, and it was made almost manually. Only text was typed and printed, which, like pictures, were pasted on a paper layout of the magazine.

In 1994, technical editor Vera Fesianava created first computer layout of the Noev Kovcheg magazine in QuarkXPress, where 2 or 3-column grid was mostly used in top stories. Since its first redesign in 1994, the NK magazine was published quarterly in full color, 48 pages, 20 x 28 cm format.

First grid for NK #1’1994.
NK #1’1994. For the text in 2 columns, 2 guides were added. Text of the inserts is aligned on columns (on the left is on a green background, on the right is on the gray background). 
NK #1’95 with 2-column grid, NK #1'96 with 3-column grid. Titles can be placed both in one column and in several columns.

Thus, the layout was structured with a modular grid, providing extra sense of order, clarity and rationality.

Next steps

Since 1999, technical editor Vera Fesianava also began using 12-column grid in the Noev Kovcheg magazine. The magazine layout was made with the QuarkXPress, and since 2011 — with the Adobe InDesign CS5 software.

12-column grid of the Noev Kovcheg #1’1999.
Spreads of Noev Kovcheg # 1'1999 and #2'1999 with 12-column grid. These pages have a clear and identifiable grid system to which each text block has been aligned, making for a neat, balanced and attractive design.
Spreads of NK # 3'2004 and #4'2005 with 12-column grid. Each spread can have clear individual visual presentation, while being a part of the whole.

12-column modular grid of the Noev Kovcheg magazine allows observing of constancy of size of a page, consistent placement of text on pages and correct hierarchy of text elements. That allows to quickly and efficiently make a layout of a magazine. And what is most important— to make materials comfortable and easy to read and perceive, which is extremely valuable for such a particular audience, like children.

Spreads of NK #7’2015 and NK #5’2016 with 12-column grid. 
 The grid suggests size of elements and allows to quickly align graphics and text blocks.
Spreads of NK #7’2015. Using rotation and shapeless illustrations in our design can balance out and overlap rigid grid layouts, giving compositions a playful look.

The new design was launched in 2010. Today, however, the 12-column grid is still important, but there are still a lot cool ways to play with it. In Noev Kovcheg the grid is used more flexibly to create decorative and attractive design. We never fully reject the grid, but certainly push its limits.

Thanks for reading.

You can read Russian version here > .

If you liked this, check out the part I. And if you want to advance the conversation, please consider recommending and sharing.

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