book design

In order to get acquainted with the evolution of publication designs into its current conditions, it is necessary to consider the concepts of grille or editorial reticulation. Grille is the scheme used to develop an editorial piece, and its function is to organize the sheets, considering the elements such as the margins, the reading area and columns. Grilles allow the most coherent location of the written information and the graphics. With this order established, the designer can feel free to develop the specific design for each publication. In conclusion, grilles work as a useful guide for the designer and also for the reader, since it makes reading easier.

Editorial design evolved radically with the beginning of the renaissance period-in the 15th century- when movable type printing press was invented. A cultural revolution was produced as a result of this new invention. However, different designs to record information in writing date from a more distant past. When words had to be put down, clay or stone boards were used. Later, papyrus rectangles were used for hand-writing, and, at this moment, certain rules such as margins and line writing were set.

history editorial design

During the Middle Ages, copyists, who were in charge of the making of unique hand-writings, set certain norms regarding margins, columns and spacing. These norms still exist in the West. Copyists were, somehow, the first experts at editorial design. They had power on every copy of the original design. In the 20th century, this power would be taken by graphic designers. In addition, unlike copyists whose aim was to provide a pleasant reading through a specific esthetic arrangement, mass-production implied the end of original designs for each copy of a publication. During the following centuries, the rectangular typographic format was the format most used. At that time, woodcuts and engravings, and the invention of lithography allowed some original details although this made publication considerably much more expensive and production speed lowered.

In the 20th century there was a significant change in editorial design when a design, art and architecture German school established in 1919, Bauhaus, used for the first time an asymmetrical editorial reticulation. With this new discovery, design monotony was broken although this asymmetric use of the grille was actually an expensive and complex process which was only used for elitist editions. Since copyists, the designers from this school were the first to produce compositions with design guidelines, different from the conventional printing rules.

It was not until 1980s that the first manual on grilles appeared and it was called Reticulation System. At the same time, Postcript and Macintosh developed specialized programs for editorial design and photocomposition (a photographic process technique for text composition) which allow designers to make decisions about publication formats.

Today editorial design enjoys great importance and has significantly developed as a result of the competition between graphic and AV media. Publications must have an attractive layout so as to stand out from other communication means.

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