May 19th, 2014


Daniel Cole

Ask a book designer to define the terms 'ui pattern' or 'vertical rhythm' and you might get a blank stare. Neither of these terms existed until the recent past, but Google returns plenty of results for both. So why is it, then, that neither term will impress someone working in the world of gutters, margins, and bleeds?


The 'why' is that both terms essentially account for concepts that have existed since monks first put quill to paper in the era of illuminated manuscripts. 

But the point of this entry isn't to poke at web designers for restyling traditional notions of design, in fact it's the opposite. As an educator, if I were teaching a class on book design and wanted to explain the 'Van de Graaf canon' of grid construction, I would be at a loss for a competent text on the subject printed after 1950. To teach a similar approach in web design would require little more than a search on Medium.
That's the interesting thing about web design; it's never really learned to stop reteaching itself the traditions of design. While there were certainly dark times for web typography and layout, that veil has quietly lifted to reveal an era of baseline grids, whitespace, and even innovation. Meanwhile, print design seems to have resigned itself to a long span of contemplative deconstruction.
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As a designer raised on the fruits of the modernist masters like the Bauhaus and International Typographic Style, it's exciting to see activity around the transfer of knowledge still so present on the web. Just don't be surprised if I still refer to a 'layout' instead of a 'pattern'.

Check out another article
April 29th, 2014
States of P'unks