Where's My Grid Dude?

When I was in Berlin, I loved that people waited at the crosswalk until the light turned green, waited in line politely, and exited the S-Bahn correctly. There were no people shoving to get in before everyone exited, nobody ran across a busy street ignoring oncoming traffic, or tried to get past you in the line at the grocery store. I like order.

Order is good for many things. But too much of it can be cold, as in intimate situations, "No, not that yet. We are still on the schedule for you doing this." Josef Müller-Brockmann managed order without the chilly part. His posters and publications are mathematically precise, but that creates harmony. Müller-Brockmann also was a master at scale. Not only are the elements placed precisely, but the scale of the pieces relate to each other just as orderly.

Of course, many people think of Josef Müller-Brockmann as the grid dude. And yes, he was indeed the grid dude. But if that were his only skill, we would be left with a range of work from A-B. Instead, each piece is it's own unique masterpiece.

Sean Adams

Sean Adams is the Chair of the undergraduate and graduate Graphic Design Program at ArtCenter, founder of Burning Settlers Cabin studio, and on-screen author for LinkedIn Learning/Lynda.com He is the only two term AIGA national president in AIGA’s 100 year history. In 2014, Adams was awarded the AIGA Medal, the highest honor in the profession. He is an AIGA Fellow, and Aspen Design Fellow. He has been recognized by every major competition and publication including; How, Print, Step, Communication Arts, Graphis, AIGA, The Type Directors Club, The British Art Director’s Club, and the Art Director’s Club. Adams has been exhibited often, including a solo exhibition at The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Adams is an author of multiple magazine columns, and several best-selling books. He has been cited as one of the forty most important people shaping design internationally, and one of the top ten influential designers in the United States. Previously, Adams was a founding partner at AdamsMorioka, whose clients included The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Disney, Mohawk Fine Papers, The Metropolitan Opera, Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, Richard Meier & Partners, Sundance, and the University of Southern California.

Liberty and Freedom in Grids

I like odd grids. How’s that for a catchy opening at a cocktail party? Probably not too good. Nevertheless, complicated and unexpected grids are wonderful. One of my favorite examples is the structure for the book, The World of Franklin and Jefferson, created for the exhibition of the same name. United States Information Agency and the American Revolution Bicentennial Administration proposed the exhibition with funding from IBM. The exhibit toured New York, Paris, Warsaw, London, Mexico City, Chicago, and Los Angeles and was one of the last major works completed by the Eames Office. The accompanying book’s structure is, let’s be honest, bizarre. There are almost no margins. The italic captions have their own column in the center of the page. The images seem to invade the text like wild animals. Clearly, there is a structure under here I do not understand. But I love it. It’s a world of wackadoodle grids. Now, that’s a good title for a new design book.