As a graphic and visual designer by trade, I have had my hands on projects in many fields. As such, I’ve used and seen many techniques for creating final design deliverables. There are the design sins that you were told by your college professor to absolutely never do (like using the typeface Papyrus for anything other than a joke—you will be disowned), and then there are the techniques that (hopefully) are innately part of your creative core. These are design basics we use every single day so many times that we may not even consciously realize we’re doing it.
I would like to explain four tips that any designer, newbie or pro, can—and should—be using in every design project. These tips cover contrast, repetition, margins, and alignment. Whether your project is an eLearning course, web banner ad, product catalog, or poster, all of these principles and tips apply. Always.
Contrast—a key principle of design—is more than just large versus small or black versus white. It can refer to and be used in many ways, such as the contrast of:
- text on a background color
- typefaces: serif vs. sans serif)
- type weight: e.g., BOLD vs. Light Italic
- color value/hue
- patterns/textures, other various design elements
No matter what type of contrast you’re using, the goal is to help organize your design, establish a hierarchy (create emphasis), and keep the viewer visually engaged. A design where everything is the same size, shape, or color is going to be excruciatingly boring—yes, excruciatingly!