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Making and Breaking the Grid: A Graphic Design Layout Workshop
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Making and Breaking the Grid: A Graphic Design Layout Workshop

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  3,936 ratings  ·  49 reviews
For designers working in every medium, layout is arguably the most basic, and most important, element. Effective layout is essential to communication and enables the end user not only to be drawn in with an innovative design but to digest information easily. Making and Breaking the Grid is a comprehensive layout design workshop that assumes that in order to effectively bre ...more
Paperback, 242 pages
Published May 1st 2005 by Rockport Publishers (first published January 1st 2003)
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Average rating 3.87  · 
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H James
Feb 22, 2021 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: type-typesetting
The guidance offered in this book seems to be pretty good in so far as it can be followed, but following Mr Samara’s verbose and winding sentences is an exhausting exercise. I just thumbed randomly to an essay on harmonic spacing on pages 50–51; it begins:

“Yet another important consideration with regard to the quality of the typography is the interrelationship of spacing proportions within text elements, relative to the spaces that separate text elements and, further, to those that separate the
...more
michaelben
Mar 12, 2011 rated it liked it
I am not a designer. But I sometimes have to play one at work. So I picked up this book for quick insight into the world of design/layout, and I am glad I did. The first part provides a very quick overview of the history of the grid, which was interesting on its own. This did help in later sections in the discussion of specific layout and design examples. The last section covered working outside of the grid concept under the premise you have to understand the rules before you flout them. I would ...more
Serith
Sep 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, art
When I first signed up for Graphic Design in college, I did not really know much about typography, nor did really I get it when teachers tried to explain. This book changed all of that because it opened my mind when I had been limiting myself to regular boring layouts – and I think that is why it hadn’t interested me. This proves how you can follow rules and think outside the box. And it’s all eye candy: it puts the logic in action and visually proves itself. Beautiful and inspiring book.

I wish
...more
Kieran
Oct 15, 2013 rated it did not like it
outdated and useless full of bad designs. maybe useful if you are a very early beginner otherwise its poop. Dont believe the hype
Chris Beiser
Aug 19, 2019 rated it it was ok
Majority of the examples are prissy and disrespectful to the content. Very little information on treating tabular data or on readability; most pages are treated as compositions rather than communicative media.

Theoretically and practically shallow.
Erika Mulvenna
Dec 16, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: art
This book makes an effort to demonstrate how grid systems are used to organize information in print, and how you can break away from the grid to create more interest. The book includes an interesting but brief history lesson about "the grid" in publications, but it's not as in-depth of a book either in information presented or in offering skill building exercises as I had hoped.

What this book does do is show through multiple examples taken from real publications how a grid is used to organize in
...more
Alex
Jan 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Tremendously helpful text for all designers, particularly those unfamiliar with the historical evolution of the grid. Samara's framing chapter about the Machine Aesthetic, Constructivism, the Bauhaus, the Basel School, and the Corporate Grid is particularly well-written and useful for designers to consult and internalize.

While Making and Breaking the Grid was written to be used primarily for designers working in print, digital designers will gain a lot from reading it. Indeed, I am highly tempte
...more
Roger
Oct 09, 2007 rated it it was ok
This book has an extensive gallery of projects for comparison's sake, but very limited instruction and some history which goes by too fast and too much like a parade of facts to possibly sink in. The commentary on the projects never offers any additional insight that could be gained by interviews with the designer or anything further than what's visible to the attentive reader. Good to flip through, but I was looking for more of a manual on good grid practices. ...more
Wazoo
Mar 25, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic-design
A book filled with enough information on grid structure and complementing examples, though I do think it could've explained its examples better. Perhaps this is a book I'd appreciate more if I actually did graphic design, but I think its explanations—while informative and very detailed—could have been more clear and effective by specifically pointing out the exact parts of its examples that it was referring to—instead of just explaining the more "abstract" principles and concepts of grid structu ...more
Matěj Málek
Oct 07, 2018 rated it did not like it
This book tries to show you too many things in too little space. The accompanying text for individual examples tends to be too shallow and descriptive, it would be much better off with fewer examples and more in depth case studies and a bit of critical reflection. Furthermore the examples in Breaking the grid section did not age well. The feel of the digital postmodern anarchy in the designs is almost tangible. There are a few good ones but the typographic structure of majority of them is questi ...more
Mauricio Villamayor
Oct 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Samara's book gives the reader a comprehensive historical context in which both grid base practices and deconstruction of the grid were developed. Aside from this critical information, the book fulfils its propose of understanding how grid works and also tries to categorise deconstruction practices, which is more than useful for people that already know how to use the grid but try to challenge their practices. ...more
Laura Lis Scott
Jan 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are many books and online articles about using grids in design. It’s part of Design 101. But most of what I’ve read focus on grid examples. “See how much better, more united the design is now!” Few get into the methodology of how to choose and develop a grid. Even fewer get into how to develop a grid, especially for book design. This book covers it all, with multitudes of examples. Highly recommended for any designer.
Ravi Kiran
There are typos galore in this book. Just look at the back cover (which is supposed to be very important)- two typos there. Bad Hyphenation in captions, typos, bad choice of typeface (creates splotchy commas, quotation marks) and incorrect sentence constructions throughout the book - it all takes away the pleasure of reading.
Nathan D. Riggs
Mar 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Great design, beyond some of the text either being too small for my aging eyes or not contrasting enough with the background--which is something you'd expect a book on design to account for, but what do I know. Still, worth a read, even with the requisite headaches. ...more
Ben Watson
May 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
It does what it says it will do. It is a guide to grid systems and has page after page of example. It could certainly delve deeper into theory and show how to use grids in your work like ', seeing them in action' but otherwise I can't complain, good book. ...more
Viktoria Tomcheva
Jan 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
nothing special. with almost every "learn yourself". It was even better ...more
Catherine
Nov 20, 2020 rated it liked it
A good visual introduction to grid layouts and a helpful book to keep on the shelf for design inspiration.
Kevin Leo
Apr 23, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This book is so well designed and comprehensive it can use its own layout as an example of the material presented.
Ralique
Jun 05, 2021 rated it liked it
the theory goes over my head but did enjoy looking at the examples shown in the book
J. Pedro Ribeiro
Jan 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
Making and Breaking the Grid, by Timothy Samara, is an analysis of the construction and deconstruction of grid-based designs. Featuring a comprehensive showcase of works in different media and across several decades.

The Book

The book is basically divided into 2 parts. The first one about the creation of the grid-based designs and its usage. The second one explains the deconstruction of the grid, a different approach on design in which the grid doesn’t have to obey any rules.
In the first few pages
...more
Reid
Nov 20, 2012 rated it liked it
There's certainly plenty of take-homes from this book, but not many of the case studies have aged well (especially the websites). And yes, the graphic-designer speak gets somewhat irritating. "Continuity is created through rhythmic, spatial interconnection between pages." "Repeating the poster format on top of itself, eventually bleeding outward beyond the poster's real format, elevates the communication to a sophisticated level where the image becomes signifier and signified, a poster that show ...more
Leonard Houx
Mar 16, 2013 rated it it was ok
Not as great as I was expecting. It seemed as if Samara was only explaining grids and modern design as a foil to introduce postmodern design, most of which I couldn't get into. So much postmodern graphic design from the 80s and 90s just looks tacky now. There was some interesting historical information (like that Emil Ruder was one of the first designers to break the grid), but I was disappointed to learn very little about how to actually use (or not use) grids. ...more
Nikki
Mar 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This book was recommended in an 'introduction to graphic design' class. Creating a design from scratch can be daunting when you have a blank screen or sheet of paper, but it becomes much easier when you start to work from a grid. I love this book because it gives you so many options and ideas regardless of the media you are working with. ...more
Mellie
Sep 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book was actually really interesting and easy to read, which is something that I don't often get to say about design books. They usually only tick one of those boxes. It's given me a lot to ponder, and as someone without formal design training it's cleared up how other designers get their work to look so good. ...more
R.Friend
Aug 15, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: grid, design
Rockport has really set the bar for design books within the past few years, and this one is no exception. As always, great examples showcased and solid substance throughout. Organization of the book itself is quite impressive.
Tejas
Dec 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
Although all the examples are from the field of print design, this is a very good starting point to understand the grid and how it can be used in different ways. Breaking the grid, is not much implementable in the digital web world as of now, but it still gives a required direction to the learner.
Christine
Dec 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
This was a college requirement that I've liked so much that I use now as a freelance designer. It's important information all graphic artists should be aware of. I've even asked my front-end web developer husband to read it and he found it helpful as well. ...more
Lauren
Jan 05, 2009 rated it really liked it
Another great design book. Helps with layouts and the many parts of putting a design together successfully. I met the author of this book and did a workshop with him in West Virginia.
Amanna
Sep 14, 2009 added it
nknm,m,m,m,m
Felicity
Nov 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: graphic designers
A more advanced look at different types of grids with beautiful examples.
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