Miss Gayathri Anthey

Research project: Visual Grid Systems in an Educational Notebook Layout: A Practice-Based Evaluation of Social Homogenisation and Conformity through Graphic Design


The research project builds upon my previous practice-based exploration of the role of graphic design in a social context, focusing specifically on the often overlooked yet significant graphic grids within notebook and exercise book design and originating from my early experiences with gridded notebooks in Indian schooling. A central aim of this study lies in unravelling the conditional learning associated with examining diverse instructional graphic grid structures transcending its initial groundwork, and tracing its impact on behaviour. Interrogating the correlation between the effect of graphic design grids in school page layout and social conformity. Integrating historical usage, contemporary examples, and practical activities, the research offers a comprehensive understanding of the role of graphic tools in shaping behaviour within varying social contexts influenced by grids.

Employing an interdisciplinary approach drawing from social semiotics, critical design thinking, cultural studies, social anthropology, and post-conceptual analysis of grids in the everyday environment this study seeks to analyse the role of grid design in everyday life. It offers insights into the relationship between design, social norms, and individual agency within contemporary society.

Practice plays a pivotal role in this project by providing a hands-on approach to exploring and understanding the influence of graphic design grids within educational notebook layouts. By experimenting with different grid structures using different methods like experimental bookmaking, and the exploration of making and breaking letterpress press rules, which have been integral to book design for centuries. Additionally, looking at walking is a line-making activity which has evolved with the development of the grid in planning cities. Exploring stitching as a form of marking making through lines. These practices contribute to reimagining the structure of grids as graphic tools in notebook design, seeking to make them unique, inclusive, and explorative.

Avenues for further investigation open to the impact of lines and grids through interactive floor games, a dynamic platform for engagement and inquiry. Understanding how grids shape spatial perception, organisation, and social dynamics. This avenue not only allows experiential learning but also prompts critical reflection on the prevalent influence of grids in our everyday environments.

Another opportunity for deeper exploration and understanding looking deeper into the historical roots of grid systems, cannot overlook their colonial legacy. Investigating how grids were imposed during colonisation and their lasting effects on landscapes, urban planning, and societal structures is crucial. Examining this aspect can unravel layers of power dynamics, cultural impositions, and resistance, shedding light on the complex interplay between grids, colonization, and identity these multifaceted explorations, and research endeavours to provoke thought, challenge assumptions, and inspire dialogue. By uncovering the nuanced roles of grids in perception, and social norms aim is to contribute to a more holistic understanding of graphic design's impact on society and find ways for innovative approaches to graphic tools and educational practices.

  • Research degree: Practice-based PhD
  • Title of project: Visual Grid Systems in an Educational Notebook Layout: A Practice-Based Evaluation of Social Homogenisation and Conformity through Graphic Design
  • Research supervisor: Dr Cathy Gale
  • Other research supervisor: Dr Kate Scott


As a passionate creative learner, I am currently embarking on a journey of exploration of lines as tools of instruction and behaviour and their role in social conformity. This subject developed from my thesis at the master's in Kingston School of Art. My journey with design started at the DJ Academy of Design in India for my Bachelor's. It was an exciting exploration of the design world. Here, I developed a foundation for understanding the power of visual communication. Building upon my bachelor's degree, I pursued a Master's in Graphic Design at Kingston University, where I delved deeper into the world of design, expanding my horizons in the field. I began my career after my MA in the fast-paced world of advertising, where I honed my skills, developed a keen eye for aesthetics, and crafted memorable visuals for commercial campaigns.

Areas of research interest

  • Instructional Lines
  • Social Conformity and Control
  • Grid structures


  • MA Graphic Design, Kingston School of Art, Kingston University

Funding or awards received

  • Kingston Bronze Award 2019 - Kingston University, London
  • Kingston Bronze Award 2020 - Kingston University, London
  • Progression Scholarship 2020- Kingston University, London
  • Progression Scholarship 2023- Kingston University, London