The Basics of Layout

Every designer should know the basics of layout.1

I don’t design books, and despite ostensibly being a UX designer, I don’t design apps or websites. I do design slides, (or possibly slidedocs).

Slides are single pages, so the Canons of Page Construction tend not to work for them. I do love a good construction diagram though.

The Golden Canon

For slides, I start with a 14x8 grid in Keynote. I built my first one using the instructions in this Medium post. The outer columns and rows are gutters, so the actual working space is 12x6.

Type sizes are trickier. I tend towards the safety of a 1:2 ratio of type sizes. That is, if you start with a 24pt base size you double the type size for each level up in your type hierarchy. Though a golden ratio is probably more pleasing.

After that, for me, the basics of layout lean towards thinking about visual hierarchy. And practice.


  1. I’m following Danah Abdulla’s Designerly Ways of Knowing↩︎

August 5, 2022 designerlywaysofknowing

Designerly Ways of Knowing

Designerly Ways of Knowing by Danah Abdulla

I bought Danah Abdulla’s Designerly Ways of Knowing the other day. It’s a guidebook/notebook of things designers should think about in order for them to know”.

I’m going to see if I can work through the book at about a post a day.

August 5, 2022 designerlywaysofknowing

Instagram, the grotesque mutant begging for death in Zuckerberg’s basement that he continues to inflict his unholy experiments upon, is adrift in a tidal wave of bad press

Ryan Broderick

July 30, 2022

Just Enough is More

Being a child of modernism i have heard this mantra all my life. Less is more. One morning upon awakening I realized that it was total nonsense, it is an absurd proposition and also fairly meaningless. But it sounds great because it contains within it a paradox that is resistant to understanding. But it simply does not obtain when you think about the visual of the history of the world. If you look at a Persian rug, you cannot say that less is more because you realize that every part of that rug, every change of colour, every shift in form is absolutely essential for its aesthetic success. You cannot prove to me that a solid blue rug is in any way superior. That also goes for the work of Gaudi, Persian miniatures, art nouveau and everything else. However, I have an alternative to the proposition that I believe is more appropriate. Just enough is more.’

Milton Glaser

July 30, 2022

Power of Three

One woman on a board is a token, two is a presence and three is a critical mass.

— via a tweet from Yo Szczepańska, a follow up from Cameron Tonkinwise and this paper by Kramer, Konrad, Erkut, and Hooper.

July 6, 2022

The Marble Answering Machine

July 2, 2022 1992