This is the 5th and final piece in our new series entitled: The Secrets Of Good Design. In each article we will cover one of the following topics:
- Tips & Tricks
If you missed the previous article on Images, click here. This one wraps up the series with some useful design Tips & Tricks. Let's go!
Contrast is one of the most widely used design tricks. It's often used to define the visual hierarchy of a design.
We covered visual hierarchy in the first article in this series on design layout but we're mentioning it again here as it is very important to the overall flow of a design.
Visual hierarchy is assigning higher importance to certain elements of your design. Practically speaking it comes into play when we make our title text large, our subheading medium size, and our body text small.
Having a good visual hierarchy will guide a user's attention where it should be focused. In other words, what information needs to get noticed first? What is the most essential thing the user needs to see before they get distracted? Those items should stand out and grab their attention.
Contrast can be expressed in your design in three main ways:
- Contrast in Weight. Coupling "heavy" and "light" objects.
2. Contrast in Size. Playing size differences off one another.
3. Contrast in Color. Matching contrasting or complementary colors.
Here is an example of all three of the above tips in action. The heading has two different font weights which adds contrast and makes for an eye-catching title. The sub-heading is much smaller which is a contrast in size that adds tension and the loud contrasting colors grab your attention and also portray excitement and energy.
White space is the empty space around elements. White space draws attention to the object. It's not only easier to see the object of attention, it also becomes much more interesting and important.
Keep in mind white space isn't always white.
Repetition is a popular design trick. When you take an item that may be less interesting on its own and repeat it several times to create something more interesting. Repetition doesn't just apply to identical items. It can be applied to nearly everything like color, style, spacing, and layout.
Overlapping is everywhere in design. It is so prevalent these days, you don't consciously notice it. But it is a great way to make your design more interesting and add dimension.
No matter your position on the sensationalism of the subject matter, the powerful design of this cover is undeniable. The hand holding the torch overlapping the title and the yellow frame ties together multiple elements which would otherwise be disconnected. The rising water in the foreground adds an amazing amount of depth to the scene which helps to convey the gravity of the situation being portrayed.
Visual tension can make a design very interesting to look at. Tension in design can be created by:
- Tilting elements and using angles to create a sense of movement
- Placing objects at the edge of the frame
- Moving elements out of balance
- Hiding parts of the object
- Overlapping elements
As we wrap up this breakdown on design tips & tricks remember to always:
Keep It Simple
One of the most important design tips for non-designers and beginner designers is to keep it simple. Simplicity is essential for an effective design because overly complicated designs can be difficult to understand. We've all seen a billboard or a TV commercial and afterward thought "I don't even know what they were trying to sell!"
Avoid using too many fonts, use colors intentionally, be sure that the visuals on the page are balanced, and you'll be off to a great start!