In addition to elements like logos, fonts and photography, layouts are a critical element in crafting clear and compelling visual communication. This page will lead you through some of DU's basic layout principles, with the goal of ensuring you're easily able to put together well-branded, effective marketing materials, from handbills to bus-stop signs and everything in between.


Choose the number of columns and rows that will appropriately fit your content. Generally, the more content you have, the more grid lines you will need.

Note: The grid system does not limit creativity to hard lines or straight edges. Rather, it allows for flexibility while still creating unity through the consistent organization of DU’s content.

Content Zones

Using the zone system is an essential step to visualizing all content elements.

description of content zones
Examples of 4 grids
4 content zone diagrams

Layout Checklist

Use this checklist as you create your layout.

  1. Set an appropriate grid system.
  2. Identify content zones.
  3. Does the logo have enough clear space around it?
  4. Is the text readable?
  5. Do the header, subhead and body copy typesetting create an informational hierarchy?
  6. Does the imagery complement or enhance the content?
  7. Do type, copy, logo and graphics interact in an engaging, clear and comprehensible way?
sample layout

Layout in Practice

Large-scale out-of-home marketing allows for the maximum messaging and identification system, including a call to action and tagline.

layout example
large campus sign promoting artificial intelligence phd

Extended collateral materials allow for the most flexibility. These materials allow for the most robust University and unit identification as well as conceptual design.

layout example
artificial intelligence phd brochure

Small-scale marketing materials require clear prioritization of zones and focused content to ensure the needs of the audiences are met without being overwhelming.

sample handbill layout
artificial intelligence phd handbill