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Aligning type with other elements on the page

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YooDooRight

When typesetting copy next to other elements on a page — i.e. images — is it best practice to align the top of the image frame with the cap height of the type next to it?

The trouble is, if your type is sat on a baseline grid then this isn't really possible (see images).

It’s something i’ve wrestled with for a while. Be interested to hear your thoughts.

 

1165737234_ScreenShot2019-10-13at16_26_52.thumb.png.35be278ce0bba86f8da0571b0d954e99.png

504053353_ScreenShot2019-10-13at16_27_18.thumb.png.a5f77dee3c4b12f015139f94d90ffd82.png

 

 

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Ralf Herrmann
9 minutes ago, YooDooRight said:

 is it best practice to align the top of the image frame with the cap height of the type next to it?

It’s the easiest choice to just use the base-line grid and because of it, it is often done this way. 
It’s probably not the best choice. Personally, I have often just created a layer with a shifted base-line grid aligned to the x-height of the copy text. And I use that for aligning the top edge of the images. 

For more complex layouts, I sometimes create a finer base-line grid instead, so the running text doesn’t sit on every line but on something like every second/third/… line—again with one of those lines matching the x-height of the main text. This too allows the alignment of images to the x-height and also additional alignments, for example if there is smaller text in the margins. 

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YooDooRight
5 minutes ago, Ralf Herrmann said:

Personally, I have often just created a layer with a shifted base-line grid aligned to the x-height of the copy text. And I use that for aligning the top edge of the images.

Do you have a screenshot of a grid that shows this working? I'd be really interested to see it.

How do you shift or offset the baseline grid in Indesign anyway? I've heard it's possible but can't find the option.  

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Ralf Herrmann

How to do it really depends on your specific case. There are so many options to achieve a versatile grid depending on your specific parameters (e.g. type sizes). InDesign not only has the standard baseline grid, but you could also use the document grid, the custom baseline grids per text frame and also custom guides you place yourself. Personally, I love to fiddle with these things for a rather long time at the beginning, because it makes everything so much more easy when you potentially have hundreds of pages to set. 

But as a quick example:

grid.jpg

The main baseline grid is 12 points. That’s what the larger body text uses. I can divide that 12 points by 3, which gives me 4 points, which I use for the document grid. The column on the left also uses that 4 points as custom baseline grid. As a result, the text is in sync with the main text and always meets the main baseline grid at every 4th line. Just as the texts automatically aligns, the images can be aligned to that 4 point document grid, so they behave like the text. 

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YooDooRight
1 hour ago, Ralf Herrmann said:

But as a quick example:

Really appreciate this, it's very similar to the way i work actually, sub-dividing the baseline to allow for more flexibility with other type styles. But ultimately then, you don't actually align the top of you picture box with the type (be it the cap-height or x-height). The first letter 'A' in your example overhanging the picture box. 

Perhaps there is no right or wrong way then, personally i do like the top of the picture box to align with the cap-height of the type next to it... gives the horizontal hanging line a real visual punch. But getting this to work whilst at the same time using a baseline grid is probably unworkable. I guess it's either align to hanging line, or to base line. 

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Ralf Herrmann
11 minutes ago, YooDooRight said:

The first letter 'A' in your example overhanging the picture box. 

That’s intentional. The cap height is mostly irrelevant visually. The x-height matters most next to the baseline. It’s not a perfect in that example, since I just threw that together in 5 minutes. You can easily make it an even better fit, e.g. by reducing the type height slightly in that example. 

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