Six Ways To Find Your Inner Design Superhero

inner design hero

Looking to release your inner designer? Here are six basic design principles that apply to all forms of design, be it printed or online material (websites or apps):

  1. First rule; ‘keep it simple’. Whatever you’re designing aim to avoid visual clutter that detracts from the essential design elements. The phrase ‘less is more’ is no less relevant now than when it was first coined by world-renowned product designer Dieter Rams (and, since that time, voiced by countless others).

  2. Less is more’ does not extend to ‘white space’ (in fact ‘white’ is a misnomer, as you may have guessed ‘white space’ can be any colour). You don’t need to fill every millimetre of your design with words and graphics, ‘white’ or ‘clear’ space is a good thing. It breaks up content into manageable sections and adds emphasis and balance to your design. In extreme cases it creates ‘negative space’ that focuses attention on key design elements. ‘White space’ is never ‘wasted’ space.

  3. Group similar design elements. If the ‘active’ part of your design is made up of lots of smaller pieces, try to order things by grouping related or visually similar elements or information. Place the more important elements in key positions. Consider who is going to decipher this information and make things easier for them.

  4. Create visual patterns. This can be done through the sizing and positioning of images, similarly sized blocks of colour, text or motifs. Arrange and align these elements to create pathways that lead the viewer throughout the design.

  5. Build visual contrast through the position, colour and size of elements or groups in your design. Place the most important information in dominant positions and tone down elements that are less important. In many print pieces this, ironically, includes the logo which, together with the tagline and contact details, should be the ‘last word’ for your audience to retain.

  6. Use the correct brand colours, typography and imagery so that the whole piece becomes part of the brand experience. When using multiple images select, crop and position images that have a similar visual feel to create a consistent pattern on design. When dealing with larger documents and websites ensure these treatments (or variations of the same) are carried though the entire document.