NCERT Class 12 Graphics Design Principles of Layout Design

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Principles Of Layout Design

W 81 hile making a design, certain things need to be taken care off, so that the design fulfils the need for effective communication besides being attractive and beautiful. While embarking on the making of the layout, one needs to understand the message and for whom it is intended. So the following aspects become the points of study to facilitate the job of making a layout.

For an advertisement design is more important to be successful than just beautiful. The design must have balance, rhythm, emphasis, unity, simplicity, preparation, harmony, line, shape and movement. Good layouts never just happen, they have to be deliberately and carefully planned and worked out. Some of the things that help or direct the design of the layout must be kept in mind and considered serious:

• The nature of the message.

• Kind of picture or image that will be used.

• The process and paper on which it will be reproduced.

• The amount of text and its size.

• Whether the layout will stand alone like a poster or compete with others in surrounding environment like in a newspaper.

Theme and Content

The subject, theme or content dominate the idea of a layout — which then gives an idea about the target audience and how they need to be approached to get a favourable result. Something that is meant to shock, alarm or awaken the masses like an epidemic or terrorism need to have a bold and hard hitting approach, where as a film with a love story can have a softer and sensitive approach. The requirement of the subject leads to the “style” of the layout.

Creative strategy needs a bit of practice — a background has to be made for the main message so that it is received favourably in the right manner as desired.

Example, it is like how you ask your dad for a laptop. He must be in the right mood, you will look for the correct time and grab the opportunity when it comes, besides having practiced couple of times for what words to choose and what tone to use.

Types of Layout

A layout is the play in placement of given text and suitable images on a given surface area. Layouts can be classified in three categories:

• Text Dominant

• Image Dominant

• Image and Text


Text Dominant: If there is too much or large text then it will have to be text dominated. But from the layout point of view the headline could be used in large display fonts occupying more area if that creates the desired effect. Image Dominant: These layouts are seen regularly in our newspapers and magazines, where a picture of a celebrity takes centre stage or the product is shown in all its glory like in most automobile advertisements. Image and Text: In these types of layouts, image and text are used in equal measure, and given a balanced exposure.

Orientation of the Layout

The paper or surface we use for artworks usually is rectangular in shape. How you place it when you start working on it, taller side i.e.-vertical or wider side i.e. horizontal is what is called orientation of layout. Those of you who are familiar with working on a computer may know that if you open ‘page layout’ in the menu you get two options – the horizontal format which is called landscape and vertical known as portrait.

When one starts to work on a design, its important to decide which option we want to use or better, which one will be more suitable to the job we are about to execute. For example if it’s a letter, it is always in a vertical format as the line length in a horizontal orientation will become too long to read and comprehend. (You have learnt in the chapter on typography about the ideal number of characters easily readable in a line.) Besides business letters, certificates and other such official documents are normally stored in files, so the vertical or portrait style is preferred.

The choice of format has to be made only on some occasions as certain things already have a fixed format like: Vertical: Newspapers, Magazines, Most Books, Journals Horizontal: Hoardings, Banners and Sign Boards, Vehicle graphics.

However when we have to decide about particular advertisements in newspapers or designing posters, the designer can exercise his discretion. Even though most books are vertical, some coffee table books are made in horizontal and even in square format, if that is what is suitable or adds to the aesthetic of the subject. But who decides what is suitable? It is the designer. Therefore it is important for a designer to work towards understanding what is suitable. Practice, no doubt makes one perfect, so keep working. In the beginning, it may be easier to first make your design, after putting together all the necessary elements and then arranging them in both formats. Experience will however teach you that if the predominant element is of a vertical orientation (like a picture of Eiffel Tower or Mount Everest, or tall pine trees) a portrait format will most likely be more suitable, and if it’s a picturesque and panoramic seascape or mountainscape, a horizontal orientation will definitely be more suitable, this however is not the only rule, other elements also have to be considered.



1. Explain with some examples how selection of fonts affects the layout?

2. Observe and collect samples of different types of magazines, note sizes. Also collect samples of different papers choose 1 or 2 layouts that you like and give reasons why you like them.

3. Explain what would happen if newspapers are not divided into columns.

4. What are the considerations while designing an advertisement layout for a magazine? Magazines mostly have a column format, but have lot of freedom within the print area.


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