So in one sense, mastering grids is a very low-level, roll-up-your-sleeves kind of thing. But I think in a larger sense, it’s an important part in every designer’s growth because it trains you to see and think about context, how smaller parts fit into a larger whole. Once you begin ordering elements with a grid, then you inevitably apply similar logic to the entirety of a document or site or what have you, and then to the process and workflow that drive your design brief, and then perhaps to the organization as a whole. Rigorous thinking about small details can effect meaningful changes in the big picture.
Aisle One Interview with Khoi Vinh, the Design Director for NYTimes.com.