How to Create a Grid in Affinity Designer

Vector programs work on a mathematical level with paths and points unlike their raster counterparts. This allows them to be resized without loss of quality. Therefore, they become a prime choice for designers needing to make commonly resized assets such as logos or those who demand a certain level of precision that a raster program cannot offer.

One way this is done is through the use of grids. Grids make guides that a designer can use to ensure precision in their work. Affinity Designer has multiple kinds of grids and ways they can be made, so keep reading to learn more about them.

How to Set Up Basic Grids

There are two kinds of basic grids in Affinity Designer, each with their own uses. One method goes through using the Grids and Axis Manager route, while the other goes through the Guide Manager. They each have different ways they snap to the guides and how they calculate their positioning, so experimenting to figure out which works best for the design, and which is most comfortable for the designer is key.

Setting Up Grids with Grids and Axis Manager

Most methods of setting up a grid in Affinity Designer involves going to the Grids and Axis Manager menu. That alone is a fast and simple way to set up a grid.

Here’s how to make a basic grid show up:

  1. Navigate to the View menu
  2. Check Show Grid
  3. Return to View
  4. Select Grid and Axis Manager

From the Grid and Axis Manager menu, the option Use Automatic Grid will be checked. In order to adjust anything, this needs to be unchecked.

Setting Up Grids with Guide Manager

There are a few reasons why trying a different method for building grids could be viable, but the biggest reason is the snapping effect. While that can be turned off, grids can also be made with Guide Manager as well. It’s mostly a matter of preference as far as simple guides go.

Here’s how to use Guide Manager instead of Grids and Axis Manager to make a grid:

  1. Navigate to the View menu
  2. Click on Guide Manager
  3. Fill in desired settings under Column Guides

In order to enable or disable these guides, select Show Column Guides under the View dropdown. This will toggle the guide on and off.

» MORE: How to Enable Snapping in Affinity Designer

How to Make an Isometric Grid

Isometric grids are exceptionally useful when angle and perspective are critically important. This is a style often seen in video games, though that’s not the only place where an isometric grid can come in handy.

Here’s how to make an Isometric grid:

  1. Navigate to the View menu
  2. Select Grid and Axis Manager
  3. Click Show Grid
  4. Select the Advanced tab
  5. Choose Isometric from the Grid type dropdown menu

From here, there are other options that can be adjusted to make the perfect isometric grid. The default spacing is going to be 64px but decreasing the spacing between the lines allows for more complex work. Experiment with different settings to find what works best for the project at hand. Additionally, ensuring snapping is enabled will help with keeping things exact.

How to Enable Snapping

Snapping is usually on by default. However, sometimes a stray click or unusual button press happens and things deselect.

Here’s how to make sure that Snapping is enabled:

  1. Select the red magnet on the top right side of the UI
  2. Select Enable Snapping
  3. Select Snap to Grid

Snapping is enabled for most types of grids, but Isometric designs rely so heavily on being perfectly precise that it’s most important for them to ensure that snapping is enabled.

How to Create a Perspective Grid

Affinity Designer doesn’t have an easy way to make a perspective grid, so it’s going to take a little bit of elbow grease to make it work.

Here is a method to create a perspective grid:

  1. Use the Pen Tool to create a straight line horizontally across the canvas
  2. Use the Node Tool and select approximately the center of the line
  3. Click and drag over all three nodes
  4. Open the Alignment menu
  5. Select Space Horizontally
  6. Duplicate the line until it fills the space needed
  7. Select all of the lines
  8. Open the Alignment menu
  9. Select Space Vertically
  10. Merge the lines via Layer > Geometry > Merge Curves
  11. Enable the Transform Mode setting in the Node Tool settings menu
  12. Click on the lines with the Node Tool
  13. Click and drag over the nodes on each side
  14. Hold Shift+Ctrl to scale both sides evenly

After this point, it’s often recommended to lock the grid layer, so it doesn’t get messed with accidentally. Feel free to mess around with the scaling and exact perspective needed for the piece, as not everything needs a head-on perspective.

How to Create Custom Grids

Eventually there may come a time where the aforementioned grids are not enough for a design or aren’t quite what’s comfortable to use. In that case, building a custom grid might be the key.

It can either be done manually with the Pen Tool, or there is this method to try as well:

  1. Navigate to the View menu
  2. Select Grid and Axis Manager
  3. Select either Two Axis Custom or Triangular Custom from Grid Type
  4. Select Uniform
  5. Select Create Plane Set
  6. Configure the Up axis
  7. Select Fixed Aspect Ratio
  8. Configure as needed or disable to keep the same ratios for both Second and Up

From here there are two options. Either configure the Spacing, Division, and Angle settings for the First, Second, and Up axes for precise configurations, or use the Move Tool to drag an existing axis handle for more organic needs.

Setting Up Custom Grids Using Cube Mode

A slightly more advanced method but more visual approach to setting up custom planar grids involves using Affinity Designer’s Cube Mode.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Navigate to the View menu
  2. Select Grid and Axis Manager
  3. Set the Mode as Cube

From this point there are multiple values that can be adjusted on the cube itself, such as the Elevation, Orientation, and Roll using sliders. It looks a little imposing at first, but is actually rather simple.


Affinity Designer is a powerful vector graphics editor program developed by Serif for macOS, iPadOS, and Microsoft Windows. As a vector program, it will make huge files but is optimized to do so with minimal lag. That is of course, if the computer using it can handle it.

A vector program uses mathematical formulae to make paths and points which allow for intense precision and perfect scaling abilities, something that a raster program cannot do. Affinity Designer has multiple kinds and ways of making grids to help the designer make things as precise as possible as easily as possible, typically even in only a few clicks.