Part IV: Putting it
all together

• Planning a
cohesive design
• Thumbnails
• Designing to a format
• Grids and systems
• Developing judgment
• TRY IT: 10 minute thumbnail
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What's a thumbnail?

  • A rough sketch that allows you to think on paper and place content on a page tentatively and flexibly.

  • Thumbnails can be as big as a postage stamp, actual size, as raw as a kid's freeform drawing or as finished as an artist's rendering.

  • Let go of how it looks. What really matters is how your thinking progresses from one sketch to the next. The first idea is rarely the best.

Why bother?

  • The basic arrangement of elements on the page is tried and tested before the production draws your attention away from structure.

  • With computers as design tools, there's a tendency to focus too early on the small picture — how the type looks, how the picture is cropped, etc. — before we've built a solid working structure for the page. It's like trying to cut trim for a house before the foundation and framing is built.

  • It's no coincidence that thumbnails often look like miniature grids, with image and text drawn as simple blocks. There's a natural progression from thumbnails to grids, because both focus on the underlying structure of the page.

Thumbnails can be difficult for others to interpret. Don't worry about how it looks — unless it's for somebody's approval.
next: Case Histories    Mockups
or: Designing for print formats