This week of my design fundamentals course at CMU Stacie Rohrbach is introducing us to communication design. Stacie gave us an overview of grids, fonts, and legibility versus readability.

A point I found interesting was that for three of the four types of grids (manuscript, column, and modular), Stacie said you can set up the grids and then see how the content fits into them. And for the fourth…the hierarchical grid, which is often used for web—the hierarchy of content will drive the grid. I’m probably not doing justice with my explanation, but I found myself wondering if the former case impairs print designers when they attempt to design for the web because they’re not used to the latter case.

Stacie mentioned numerous books on type and grid systems. One book, Thinking with Type, I read last year. She also noted Neve Typography by Jan Tschichold and Formation and Transformation by Willi Kunz.

Today’s Exercise

We were asked to use a transparent grid to align content that we cut out from magazines and newspapers so that we could experiment with different layouts. Although we were told to choose a medium for our design (e.g., book, web page, poster), I wasn’t very clear in what I hoped to accomplish, which made for a lot of spinning wheels and getting nowhere.

Faced with the embarrassment of not having anything to show, I quickly put together a poster (it sucked). Lucky for me, it was actually identified as a poster by my classmates when we examined all the results.


This week’s software boot camp focuses on Photoshop, which I have been using for about nine years. Though I have mostly been using it to cut up web design mockups for the past couple years.

We manipulated photos today, which was something I thought I didn’t know how to do. Turns out I do. I just haven’t practiced that much.

For both classes, we have homework.