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Before & After by John McWade

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Chapter . Design without rulers: Put away your ruler. Here’s how to design the way you see.

Ever watch a street artist at work? What fun! A splash here, a dash there, and from a blank canvas a picture just... appears. He uses no mechanical tools at all, no columns, rulers, or guides, yet the result is a beautiful whole. It’s so fluid.

The best design is like that.

To see how it works, let’s design a page, but instead of a grid, we’ll use this picture—what we see—as our visual guide. Its lines, shapes, proportions, and their relationships will govern our choice of type, sizes, colors, layout, and everything else.

What can you see?

Measuring only by eye (closely, not exactly), can you answer the following?

  • Is the man as tall as the globe?

  • Is the man as ...

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