Using the City Grid
This grid is the underlying framework for the graphic design of your content. You can break it down into smaller graphic elements, which can be layered within your content in multiple ways.
Using the city grid graphics, which represent New York City and the additional dynamic cities around the world where we are located, will infuse any communication with new and original visual points of view.
Cropping the City Grid for Different Aspect Ratios Plain Text
The entire city grid graphic with parts of it pulled out at different aspect ratios. Each aspect ratio example features the same image of two students descending the Kimmel Center for University Life staircase with the city grid graphics framing them in white.
- 4-to-1 Email or web banner
- 1-to-1 Social post
- 16-to-9 Presentation
- 9-to-16 Social post
- 8.5 by 11–inch Flyer
Each part of the graphic has a distinct look, lending versatility to any set of communications.
Place the city grid into the size frame you need, scale up (if necessary), and move it around until you find a crop that works for your communication. Check out the accompanying image for examples of how you can crop the city grid graphic.
Scale Plain Text
Diagram showing two crops of the city grid. Left crop is scaled out, with a purple box framing a portion of it. The framed portion is pulled out on the right to demonstrate how a tighter crop appears less complicated.
The line weight should stay in relative proportion to the size of your communication. It should be thick enough to highlight a detail or subject but not so thick it overpowers it.
If the line is too thin, it wonʼt have any real impact on the design. If it is too thick, it may crowd the subject it is trying to highlight.
Line Weight Plain Text
Diagram showing three images of the same student, who is standing, framed by an Ultra Violet path.
- In the first image (left), the path is very thin and gets lost in the background. This is incorrect.
- In the second image (middle), the line is proportional with the subject and background; it neither gets lost in the background nor overpowers the student. This is correct.
- In the third image (right), the line is very thick, overpowering the student and obscuring a good portion of the background. This is incorrect.
Cropping Plain Text
Two diagrams showing incorrect crops of the city grid graphic.
- In the first diagram (left), the entire city grid is visible within a square frame.
- In the second diagram (right), the entire city grid is visible within a rectangular frame, with blank space to the left and right of the grid.
Paths and Typography
As a graphic element, the path represents where we are today and where we hope to go next. These are the paths that lead us to unexpected intersections of new ideas and opportunities. Here are examples of how to incorporate paths in your communications.
Use an Ultra Violet path as an extension of the thought.
The path can help bridge two ideas or extend a single thought across your layout. This approach makes for a more engaging design without losing the legibility of your message.
An Extension of the Thought Plain Text
Photo of a professor (left) and a student (right). Banner text reads, “Where people and ideas intersect,” followed by the NYU logo. An Ultra Violet line bridges the words “ideas” and “intersect,” thereby connecting the professor and the student.
Use an Ultra Violet path as a text box.
The path can act as a background for brief but important bits of information. It can help copy stand out on top of photography or visually tie several photographs together with a single message.
Text Box Plain Text
An Ultra Violet rectangle spans across images of NYU Abu Dhabi and Washington Square Park. The text reads, “…to be—then create the world you want to live in.”
Place text along an Ultra Violet path.
The path can act as a visual guide for the reader, helping them follow a narrative through the layout.
Along the Path Plain Text
The city grid is used as a background next to an image of a student smiling on a subway platform. An Ultra Violet line extends from the top left of the image, toward the bottom left, then to the bottom right. Above the line, running across the bottom, the text reads, “Become who you were meant.…”
City Grid and Typography
The city grid is a versatile tool that elevates your designs and brings a wide range of flexibility to your communications. Here are examples of how you can use the city grid to enhance your content.
Use the city grid as a background behind text.
The city grid can help ground your copy and photography as a background. It adds texture and movement to a layout without overpowering your content.
Accessibility Note: When layering text over the graphic, make sure the graphic is lighter in color and less complicated so it doesn’t interfere with the legibility of the type. Ensure all text passes color contrast requirements.
As a Background Plain Text
The city grid graphic in light gray is the background of NYU Violet and Ultra Violet text. The text reads, “NYU is a place where people from around the world and around the block gather to learn, innovate, and collaborate to make an impact.”
Nestle text in the city grid’s negative space.
The city grid can also frame your content. You can easily organize your layout by placing copy or photography within the grid’s negative spaces.
Nestled in Negative Space Plain Text
The city grid organizes text in this example. The larger text in the upper-right corner reads, “Become you were meant to be—then create the world you want to live in.” The placeholder body text underneath it fills the city grid’s negative space. The text does not overlap the city grid in this case.
Weave the city grid between text.
You can add depth and energy to your communications by weaving text through the city grid. Be sure your message remains legible and accessible when using this approach.
Accessibility Note: Avoid using images with text—screen readers are not able to read text within images. Learn more about creating accessible images.
Woven Through Text Plain Text
City grid paths interlace with text, reading, ”People...Ideas…Intersect…”
The NYU logo is in the top-left corner to reinforce brand recognition. A darker, cropped version of the city grid pattern is used for the email masthead. A path anchors the title of the event series. The border of the email, which extends vertically on both sides of the message as the recipient scrolls through the email content, is also a part of the city grid.
The way this decal bridges both windows tells a story. The Ultra Violet frame is left open at the top and encompasses both the professor and student. A single path unites the two windows and connects the text. Additional parts of the city grid pattern subtly overlay the edges of the composition to create a greater sense of focus on the center.
A single path weaves its way through this book spread to carry the reader through the composition. The headline on the left page is anchored to the path and sits over a subtle city grid background. The path continues to the right, framing the body text and ultimately finding its way to the edge of the page, encouraging the reader to follow.