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Nov 11 / Katie Buddingh

The Armature, the Grid and Grid Systems

by: Denise Gonzales Crisp – 2007


Typographers design using at least two things together:

– A typographic element

– A space within and surrounding it.


Armatures – underly and bind elements through deliberate but fairly random placement ruled by “intuitively” divided space.

Grids – also underly and bind elements but with structural in addition to visual rules governing placement.

DaDa and De Stijl – early 20th century – advanced abstraction as a means of modern communication.

Principles of abstraction proved elemental to grid systems devised later.

Grid Systems – put similar principles to work except within a calculated program.


Typographer devises a system – assigns active or supporting duty to each pica, pixel, inch or cm. – an organizational map.


– Josef Muller-Brockmann

“The Grid System” – an aid in the Design of Advertisements, Catalogues and Exhibitions.

“Grid Systems in Graphic Design” – 1981

– Emil Ruder

“Typographie” – 1967

– Karl Gerstner

“Designing Programmes” – 1968

“Compendium for Literates” – 1974


Modules build structure and so “integrate elements of color, form and material” by way of visually and mechanically fastening together.

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