Page layouts

by May 18, 2021Art Supplies

Jane shares a page layout project from her college days where she practiced the art of laying out a page for various purposes. Largley a computerised activity today, but still a useful set of skills to master.

Layout paper

If you are studying graphic design you will be aware of designing page layouts for magazines and other publications.

I am sure it’s mostly done on computers today. But, during my time at college studying graphic design we learnt how to produce page layouts by hand (this shows how old I am) and not by computer.

When designing layouts the best paper to use is an A3 layout pad, they are invaluable. This paper is 45gsm and semi transparent and ideal for altering design ideas.

A3 layout paper - Daler Rowney

Grid reference sheet

Once you have your design ready it is then up to you what surface you transfer your design on to.

A grid reference sheet is also essential for designing page layouts, this grid will help you decide where to place the text and the images you are going to use.

grid reference sheet

Page layout examples

Here are a few examples of how to work out your page layouts for a magazine on layout paper.

magazine page layout

Magazine project

This project was to do design an article for a magazine, it didn’t matter what the subject was, but it had to include an image, mocked text and a title the rest was up to us.

I’ve always had a fascination with standing stones so I decided that is what I’d design.

By using a round hand text and a symbol at the top right hand corner giving it a slight Celtic feel, and I borrowed the image of the standing stones from an album cover which I draw and coloured with coloured pencils.

The text is mocked using a fine liner pen and I used designers gouache to paint the Celtic round hand title and the page numbers. 

Standing stones article design

Peter Gabriel article

This is an earlier page layout (in fact my first) for a music magazine featuring Peter Gabriel. Using the same principle of blocking in where the text will go and the addition of images, these can be borrowed or drawn. Here I have a mix of both drawn and borrowed.

Peter Gabriel article layout

Book page layouts

In illustration we learnt how to prepare page layouts for a book.

Here we were provided with the text and our project was to produce the illustrations, we had to do two in colour and two in black and white.

In a previous blog about using acetate I’ve shown how easy it it to use this medium and this is where I first used acetate to produce the line work as an overlay.

In the second image I’ve still used the acetate and for the desert I’ve used two different grains of sandpaper.

Radio Times magazine style layout

This was a great project, we had to design Illustrations for the ‘radio times’ magazine, this comprises of a new colour logo and three black and white images to insert on to one of the pages of the magazine. In this picture at the bottom you can see my original designs and then instead on the page of the magazine once they have all been reduced to fit.

Designers gouache used for the logo and fine liner pens for the black and whites.

Magazine style layout

Useful tools

Some people might view the use of Layout Paper as ‘old fashioned’ but Gadsby’s still sell the pads! Computers are used so much more for layout generation now. However, what is done by hand, as a learning exercise, remains useful for ever. Jane explains that is more than just history for her…

“Of course when I studied graphic design it wasn’t completely computer based, it wasn’t even 50/50. I think it was around 20% in the computer suite and 80% by hand.


We had to learn how to trace the perfect letters to create heading, page layouts and images all by hand. I’m so glad that that’s what we learnt as now I can still use these practices when I need to.


Today it’s more about the computer generation and unfortunately a lot of the old techniques are being forgotten.”

Jane is a member of the Gadsby’s team. She has a wide knowledge of the arts & crafts products and materials sold by Gadsby’s both from the perspective of an advisor in the shop and, for many of the products, from personal use too.

Please note that this is not a service that Gadsbys offer to clients – just an example of the private work done by one of the highly skilled and knowledgable Gadsby’s team shown for your interest.


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