Creative design is a unique process and differs for everyone. At Proof, each designer has their own way of getting to the end product, but one process we’ve found especially helpful is designing on a grid. The “grid” gives us guidance and reference when we design websites and approach UX projects. There are many reasons this is a best-practice for our team.
The grid keeps your organized.
One of the main reasons to use a grid is for hierarchy. By establishing this structure of perpendicular and parallel lines you can consistently align objects, keeping ux designs nice and tidy. Pro tip: Start with a design and build your grid around it. Grids are highly flexible when it comes to the number of columns and rows needed. Just keep in mind that when designing, the number of columns and rows is directly related to how flexible the design will be. The more columns and rows you have, the more flexible the design is.
The grid makes your designs more precise.
A gridded design improves efficiency and allows you to get things done quickly without losing design integrity. The grid can significantly improve design time because it suggests where elements should be placed rather than where they could be placed. Compare your grid to the foundation of a building: you lay it down first, then build up from there.
The grid makes collaboration easier.
Do you often find yourself handing over files to different designers and developers? Grids are a surefire way to reduce miscommunication. Having this solid foundation in place will set your team up for success. Every time a new designer/developer opens the file they can deduce how it’s been set up, where it was going, and hopefully take it over from there.
Websites will thank you. So will your developers.
Multi-page layouts can be daunting. The main problem is making everything cohesive. Before you get into the weeds of heavy design, establishing a strong grid will ensure layouts are transferable to multiple pages. Consistency between the 12 column grid (or however many you choose) will resonate through all pages, creating a familiar experience.
As much as we (designers) love to organically come up with layouts, next time you start a project – lay down your foundation. In doing this, I guarantee you’ll begin speeding up your process, become more consistent, have an easier time collaborating, and have your coworkers buy you lunch (well, maybe not the last one).