TORAH – 5 COLUMNS
The picture shown above is a Torah scroll I purchased in Prague.
written on Vellum and dated from the 19th century. The actual size
of the piece
shown is 786 x 560mm. Its grid is based on 8 mm leading/line spacing,
it evenly divisible by the page’s height. The text columns
are 464 mm high and
made up of 58 lines. The widths of the columns are 131 mm with 26
between. The lower margins are 56 mm and upper margins 40 mm. By
dividing these margins by the leading, 56/8 = 7 and 40/8 = 5, we
see that both
of the margins result in uneven numbers. There are 58 lines of text,
is an even number. The outer margins are half as wide as the inner
that is to say, 13 mm. A seam with a width of 7mm can be seen where
had been folded and sewn to the next part. When the pieces were
together, this resulted in 13 mm overlap on both sides, which together
26 mm. Because of this, the column spacing was maintained throughout
whole scroll. I will take a closer look at this design to see if
I can find an
underlying grid system. The question is, how did they know that
the height of
the columns would be exactly 464 mm and that the spacing would be
¶ That the scroll follows a baseline grid with a line spacing
by the height of the page, as well as the ability to equally space
5 columns so
that they fall evenly in each part of the vellum, is to me proof
that the person
who wrote this was well-acquainted with the rules of grid design.
If the design
now follows the old tradition of a Sefer Torah it ought to look
about the same
as it did 2000 years ago. This is evidence that the design of books
be inspired by this system – widely known within the Jewish
tradition at the
time – and merely adapted to fit the Codex format. ¶
This technique of writing
text is generally accepted today and has been adapted throughout
Christian monks made use of the holy trinity – all measurements
by three – to create books that were holy according to the
TORAH – 3 COLUMNS
This scroll is also from the 19th century and the piece of vellum
mm wide and 584 mm high. Keep in mind that these measurements aren’t
exact since the vellum is old and has shrunken somewhat with time.
It has 3
columns with 28 mm spacing between columns and 8 mm line spacing.
left and right margins are 14 mm, that is to say half of 28. The
height of the
columns is 440 mm with a width of 187 mm, and 440/8 results in 55
per column. The upper margin is 64 mm and the lower 80 mm. By dividing
the margins by the leading, 64/8 = 8 and 80/8 = 10, wee see that
result in an even number. The 55 lines of text result in an odd
examine this scroll, I start out exactly as I did with the previous
one by making
a document with all the values in InDesign. We will now see how
symbol I worked with on the preceding scroll also works with this
It’s interesting that both scrolls derive from a 8 mm line
millimeters didn’t exist 2000 years ago, but the method of
in eight parts was however known (triangulation). The number eight
holy number within Judaism – the Jewish holiday Brit Milah
is held on the
newborn boy’s eighth day. Hannukkah is an eight-day long Jewish
beginning on the 25th day of Kislev, Shemini A tzeret is a one-day
directly after the seven-day holiday Sukkot. This can be the reason
derive from the number 8.
He further examined these scrolls and also a number of older books
to arrive to his calculating method.
After Marcus had examined the books, he created a step-to-step guide
howe to create a perfect gridsystem,
where all the baselines fit inside the page and the gutter is based
on the proportion of the lead.
He released this method in his book The
Way of Typography august 2007.
Below you can try one of the step-to-step guides.
ADOBE IN DESIGN WITH FIXED FORMAT
MARCUS GARDES CALCULATING METHOD
Original leading = OL
Paper width = W
Paper height = H
New leading = L
Paper width:Paper height = W:H
Paper height:Paper width = H:W
New leading width = LW
Same as = ::
Ratio = :
Formula for creating a grid proportional to the area of the paper.
H/OL= Y ≈X (round Y to the nearest whole number)
H/X = L
L(W/H) = LW
L:LW :: H:W
ADOBE IN DESIGN WITH FIXED FORMAT
In the previous examples, I had the freedom to choose the format
of the paper,
which made it possible for me to make the particular design divisible
Now I will teach you a method that works with all paper formats
results in both horizontal and vertical lines fitting perfectly
within the area.
The previous methods work wonderfully for textbooks with a few images
maybe one sidebar. When working with magazines that have a fixed
a number of columns and where you want pictures to align along the
edge of the text, this method below works better.
baselines (with an A4 format as example)
The paper format is converted to points:
297 mm ≈ 841.89 pt. 210 mm ≈ 595.276 pt
Text size = 9 pt. Line spacing = 11 pt.
841.89/595.276 ≈ 1.414
595.276/841.89 ≈ 0.7070
I choose a leading that I believe suits the format
and the type space. In this case 11 pt.
I divide the height of the paper again to
determine the new leading.
841.89/77 ≈ 10.934 pt
Start by creating a new document with A4 format.
Baseline grid with the new leading
Now we will write in the new values in InDesign
Go to: InDesign>Settings>Grids. Start:0. Increase every: 10.934
You have now set the guidelines, which distribute evenly along the
Guidelines for images and upper margins
Choose the font you want to use and place it in the top edge of
The font size is 9 pt. Write a lowercase “f ” with your
chosen font and create
outlines of the letter (Type>Outlines). In the pallet Transform,
you now see
the height of the “f ” (in this example, with the font
Times: 6.148 pt). Take
this value and subtract 10.934 (the leading). Now extend a guideline
papers upper edge, select this and step it down (under transform)
value you determined (in this example: 4.786 pt). Now select the
position and go to Edit>Step and Repeat. Write 76 (number of
minus 1) and spacing 10.934 (leading). Now we have the guidelines
align images (figure 2, line 2). See page 141 for a more detailed
description of these lines.
I take the new leading (841.89/77) and multiply it by the width
paper divided by its height (595.276/841.89) and get the distance
the vertical lines. (841.89/77) x (595.276/841.89) ≈ 7.731
Use step and repeat
Show>Show rulers. Drag a guideline out from the ruler on the
left side of the
document. Select the guideline (if this doesn’t work, it has
to be unlocked
by Show>Unlock guideline) and go to Edit>Step and repeat and
write in the
same number you had for the baseline grid.
Repeat count: 77, Move to the side: 7.731. See the result in figure
Or guidelines for document
Alternately, you can form the vertical guidelines with Guidelines
for document, found under InDesign>Settings>Grids.
Here you write in the measurement you figured out. (leading: 10.934
& vertical line: 7.731).
This is the method that I use today. I think this is quicker then
step and repeat.
Columns and rows
Draw in any number of black blocks (in this example, four) to figure
the margins (see figure 3) Measure the inner and outer margins and
value of these in Layout>Margins and columns. Choose four columns
careful that the spacing between columns is the same as the vertical
That is: 7.731 x 2 ≈ 15.4617 pt. Write this number in Column
Choose how many rows you want your document to have, in this case,
made five rows. Draw these, just as you did with the columns,
and when you see that they fit, measure the upper and lower margins
and write this in Layout>Margins and spacing. Make sure the upper
follows the line indicating the “f ” height, and that
every lower edge
of the rows are lined along the baseline, line 1 (see example).
Create rows with guidelines
Make five rows under Layout>Make guidelines. To figure out the
(C), take the leading plus the difference between the leading and
“f ” height: 10.934 x (10,934 - 6.148) = 15.2 pt Make
sure to mark the box for
guides to start from the margins. Now you have a well-made grid
(see figure 5).
The purpose of a grid is to structure the area so that all the elements
natural place. This can seem contradictory, that a strict grid is
used to get a form
to feel harmonic, but it isn’t unique to graphic design, architecture,
feels beautiful and harmonic, makes use of strict measurements.
¶ The classic
methods can be used to determine margins when creating this grid
But this isn’t always desirable since it creates very large
margins, which don’t
work in magazine design. The number of columns and the best way
advantage of the paper area are things that must be taken into consideration.
Figure 4 & 5
With this method, you can create a grid that will help you in every
You can customize the grid for the format of the page, the proportions
The sky is the limit ;-)
Grid based on the size of the text (Em space)
Start by Creating the above grid based on modules.
Then, lets say you would like your size of the text to be 10 pt.
Your page is 150 mm wide (425,197 pt).
425,197/10=42,5197≈42 (or 43, you decide)
New textsize: 10,124
Go to InDesign >Preferences >Grids
In document grid:
In Subdivisions you can choose have many divisions of the EM square you want. I like 4 divisions because I work a lot with Thin space (1/4 EM):
In vertical you can keep the lead you created in previous example or you can change it if you want it to fit better with the new text size.
Now you have a grid that gives you a very accurate and visible view of the horizontal space of the text. And now its more easy to choose a type area based on the Em square in width.
Dont forget to change the size of the text in your Paragraph Style.
You can also check out Designers
Bookshop tutorial for using the Grid Calculator.
It may help you create the grid in InDesign.