The grid is the underwear of the book

“The grid is the underwear of the book”

– Massimo Vignelli

from Dezeen

Legendary New York book designer Massimo Vignelli describes his process when laying out a publication in this movie by design consultancy Pentagram.

Vignelli explains how he begins a book design by laying paper over a simple grid for positioning images and text, which can’t be seen in the finished article. “The grid is the underwear of the book,” he says. “You wear it but it’s not to be exposed.”

He lists different layout options made possible by his grid system, including several pictures per page, one full page image and one smaller opposite, or double-page photos for the “wow” effect.

Vignelli sketches the images by hand when mocking up the layout as he believes it’s faster for him than using a computer.

He compares the design process to making a movie. “The scale and the pacing of the images makes the book, it’s just like a film,” he says. “The scriptwriter is the author of the book, and I’m the director and cinematographer.”

The film was designed by Michael Bierut of Pentagram for paper manufacturer Mohawk’s What Will You Make Today? campaign. It features the publication Richard Meier, Architect: Vol. 3 released in 1999.