Creating A Grid In Illustrator | Creating Grids In Illustrator

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Ryan Hayes

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Creating Grids In Illustrator

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In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to quickly and easily create grids within illustrator. If you recall grid based design kind of originated with the Swiss design movement, the idea of creating structure because there wasn’t a lot of structure and graphic design before that so creating this structure really helps to align text and objects and to guide where the audience is looking. Alright, so I have an 11 by 17 inch document in Illustrator. You can see the red line on the outside. That is my bleed. I have a 1/8 inch bleed. That’s point one two five inches all the way around since this was a default document. You notice that there are these default swatches that come with it well? You should know what that as a good designer and somebody who’s creative. I want you to get rid of those default swatches, right, anybody who doesn’t know what they’re doing, you know, beginner, illustrator, They’re just gonna use those not realizing that there’s 16 million plus colors, so I don’t want you to be burdened by the limitation of the default swatches, so with your swatches panel active. Come up here to the options select all unused right, so they’re all selected and hit delete, Swatch and say yes, that’s gonna leave you with white black, which is the default that way as good designers, you know, to choose and create your own colors and not rely on the default swatches. Alright, so back to grid design, just a little tangent, but now back to grid design, so let’s create a grid nice and easily we’re gonna need the rectangle tool. Alright, so got the rectangle tool over there since our artboard is white. I want to make the rectangle black, just so we can see it and I want to turn the stroke off. All right, so red line stroke off black fill now. I just want to click, and I want to click and drag with the rectangle tool active. I just want to click, and it’s going to open up a rectangle dialog box and this document is 11 by 17 inches. So I want my rectangle to be 11 17 I’m gonna click okay by default. It probably will not line it up. Center, I want to take my selection tool and with the rectangle selected, I’m going to come up the options bar up here and make sure under the alignment window our alignment option here we have aligned two board selected, then we want to horizontal align Center and vertical align Center and that’s going to move it perfectly centered on our 11 by 17 inch artboard. Next we want to use the magic of illustrator to divide this rectangle up into a grid, so we have the rectangle selected. It is known as a path and an object right, so we going up to object in our menu and then we’re gonna come down to path and we want this option right here, which says split into grid so. I’m going to split this rectangle into a grid. Another dialog box opens in this instance, or any dialog box that opens. That has a preview option. I say turn it on so you can see what you’re doing before you commit to any changes. We also want to add guides because we’re gonna use guides for our grid so add guides now how many columns and how many rows so if you recall, there’s the rule of thirds that’s one way to do it, right, You could do rule of thirds sometimes. I like to have more columns in that. I almost always use either multiples of 3 for rule of thirds, or I really like to do odd based column so 3 5 7 something like that that allows us to play with a symmetrical balance, which is really good at creating visual interest, so in this design or in this grid. I’m gonna go with 5 columns. Alright, 5 columns. So you can see them over here. Little blue lines also. I want to create a gutter right so gutter. You can think of gutter like a margin, so if we were to put text side-by-side like Columns 1 & 2 side by side with Column 3 & 4 and there was no, the text would butt up right next to each other, Make it really hard to read because there wouldn’t be margin. So I’m gonna do point one gutter and you can see that this white line there separates right. You can experimenting a dew point to, you know something that looks good. As far as rows, some good designers just worry about the columns you could think rule of thirds and come in and add a rule of third like that, which I’m gonna do, right, Rollo, third as far as row, so I have three again. Same gutter Click. Okay now over here on our layer. If we drill down, we open this up our top option. Which is this one? It’s group. It’s a little cut off, but that’s our guidelines. Everything else here. It turned it kind of cut that rectangle into little tiny rectangle. So if I take my direct selection tool, I can select these, and these are shapes and there’s. Cool things you can do with that. I use this as a starter, right, and you can come in and just kind of proof of concept. You can see how I can come in. And those are actual shapes, however, for grid based design. We’re not going to worry about that. We just want the guides, so I’m going to lock lock. The guides have everything else unlocked, so that if I hit command a which is select all command A, it’s gonna select all of those little shapes. And then I can hit the Delete key. Get rid of them, But it keeps our guidelines and our margins is what I want. I want to lock that whole layer and working smart. I know to change that to something that makes sense so instead of layer one. I’m going to call that layer grid now. Do you have to do five and three? No, right, that’s just my example for this 11 by 17 inch poster based on the design, you’re working on experiment with different numbers of grids. Another cool feature right is if you come under view and come all the way down here you can see show grid and illustrator has it’s built-in kind of grids right there, usually one inch squares, but you can see how that many lines gets distracting, that’s why. I showed you this technique. But if you need to be more precise, you can turn that on under view grip.