Laura Rivera


Armature, Grid and Grid Systems by Denise Gonzales Crisp

Typographers use two main things: typographic elements, and the space that they need in order to write. On the other hand these two elements need to be structured, which sometime can become a hazel. However, armatures, grids and their system, frameworks and hierarchy are elements that help to structure both typographic elements and the space on the paper.

Intuitive placement is a random stage in which the typographer aligns the text in a divided space by using an armature. The armatures apply a principle of alignment, visual proportion, balance and harmony. Commercial artists apply the use of armature for their commercial posters since 19th century.

Armatures can be taken as a typographic element that helps to organize text with its visual rulers that govern a placement in the paper. Newspaper use simple columns to accommodate written information day by day. In the same way, rigid vessels and gutters are good for divided and organized masses of text. This type of organization begun since Constructivism, DaDa, and De Stijl, and all the rest 20th century artist and designers who advance in abstraction in order to modified text in a modern communication.

One can said that the first pioneer of modern typographic structure was the Bauhaus. Throughout the first half of the century, the Bauhaus, adapts ‘New Typography’ as an experimentation that serves in the printing design.

On the other hand, asymmetry serves to differentiates and compartmentalize information. By doing this, text creates dramatic contrast, geometric shapes that create direction throughout the text. In this way the text creates point of view, the informative one (text that informs the reader about something) and the artistic one (the text is organize in certain way that projects an artistic point of view, in this case the text project the Bauhaus movement).

On the other hand a grid system works for symmetric and/or asymmetric system of organization. In addition the typographer also apply the uses of system of convention such as pica, inch, or centimeter in order to organize the grid. At the end, the grid with its system of organization, compress all areas in a given space.

The grid has also its history around the late 14th with the Swiss designer Josef Muller Brockmann and his published work in relation with organizing space in the design world. Next, Bolstered by Emil Ruder’s Typographie, Karl Gerstner’s Designing Programmes, and Compendium for Literates talk about the grid as a “systems thinking” for typographers.

The grid can be describes as small, equal and repeat patterns (made out of parallel, perpendicular, or parallel vs. perpendicular lines) that comprise a whole. For example one can said that a line that belong to a grid is the most reductive element in page.  Then the text is aligned in a form of modules, or groups of text line. Today standard grids are also available in software.

There is a quote that says: “ working with the grid system means submitting to laws of universal validity. 
The use of the grid system implies: 
the will to systematize, to clarify; 
the will to penetrate to the essentials, to concentrate; 
the will to cultivate objectivity instead of subjectivity; 
the will to rationalize the creative and technical production processes; 
the will to integrate elements of color, form and material; 
the will to achieve architectural dominion over surface and space; the will to adopt a positive, forward-looking attitude; 
the recognition of the importance of education and the effect of work devised in a constructive and creative spirit.”

—Müller-Brockmann, p.10

Grid modules express just as a fundamental and intrinsic; modules are the ones that build structure and help to integrate elements such as colour, form and materials in the space by using visual and mechanical elements altogether.

It is good to say that the designer has to put a physical limit to the page or screen; understand the parameters of the plan that he/she wants to construct.

Armatures, grids and it system offers an invisible system of lines that dictated some of the parameters and its components of measures.

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