Blog Article

13 Secrets to Good Design

Successful Marketers Remember the Basics
AMY ROSS, MANAGER — BRAND AND PRODUCT MARKETING

The real secret of good design is remembering the principles and elements of design. Unfortunately, these tried-and-true fundamentals are sometimes overlooked when rushing to complete a project. Worse yet, they may be obscured by changes made during the revision process — often by well-meaning stakeholders who aren’t designers.

Our advice is to get back to brand basics when designing and revising graphics for logos, advertisements, websites, videos and other marketing collateral. These tools are far more powerful than any program or app when it comes to executing proper composition of visual elements.

The Principles of Design

  • Secret #1: Alignment Each element is visually connected to another element, creating a sense of cohesiveness in the design.
  • Secret #2: Proximity — Related elements are placed near each other to minimize visual clutter and improve organization.
  • Secret #3: Contrast — Unique elements are set apart from one another and stand out through the use of color, size or other techniques.
  • Secret #4: Repetition — After creating a pattern, such as a graphic or text treatment, apply it several times to establish consistency and rhythm.

The Elements of Design

  • Secret #5: Line — A line, which is a mark between two points, can be straight or curly, solid or dashed, and thick or thin. A line is often used for emphasis or to connect two elements.
  • Secret #6: Size — Size, how large or small an element is, can be used to define importance, create visual interest, attract attention and much more.
  • Secret #7: Color — Color is used to highlight something and to generate emotion. Colors like orange and red are warm and active, while blue and purple are cool and passive.
  • Secret #8: Shape —Basic types of shapes include geometric (circle, square, triangle), organic (leaf, animal, person) and abstract (icon, stylization).
  • Secret #9:  Space — Space, the area around or between elements, can be positive or negative. Space is used to separate information, lead the eye through a design, give the eye a rest and create balance.
  • Secret #10: Texture — Texture refers to the look and feel of the surface of an object. It can be applied visually to elements of a design, adding depth and visual interest.
  • Secret #11: Value — Value is how light or dark an area looks, such as a solid color or a gradient with varying shades. Value can be used to create depth, pattern or emphasis.
  • Secret #12: Hierarchy Hierarchy is the arrangement of elements in a way that implies importance, allowing extra weight to be given visually to what’s most important.
  • Bonus Secret: SimplicityAlso called visual economy, simplicity involves the elimination of non-essential details to reveal the essence of form.