DESIGN PRINCIPLES CHEAT SHEET

Design Goals

  • Accurate, interesting content
  • Meeting client’s needs: adhering to the topic and purpose
  • Appealing to the target audience
  • Visual interest and clarity

Design Principles

■ Focal Point

Give the page a vibrant, interesting focal point. One focal point is perfect!

Hierarchy

Present the information in an organized fashion with the most important info first.

■ Eye flow

Organize the page so that the reader is directed through it. For example: focal point leads to title which leads into text.

White space/balance

Don’t overcrowd the page. Organize the information so that there is space between items, reduce text to its minimum amount of copy where possible.

■ Simplicity

Simple is elegant and strong.

Balance

Squint at the page to see it for its graphic impact. Is it a pleasing interaction of positive and negative shapes?

■ Unity

Unity is a design element that brings balance and harmony to a work of art. When there is unity there is a sense of completion, and it is pleasing to the eye. To achieve unity you have to have similar colors and shapes throughout the work, fonts have to flow together, proximity of the shapes, repetition, and continuation.

This advertisement for coke shows unity with the colors and shapes and text it uses throughout the entire picture.

Design Techniques

Contrast

Use contrasting fonts, and/or contrast in size, color, weight, form, direction. Use color contrast effectively.

Repetition

Repeat (existing) elements as a way to unify the page/site.

■ Alignment

Stick to one alignment. Make the most of existing alignments: text, photos, etc.

Become aware of how to break this rule of one alignment also.

 

■ Proximity

Group information that belongs together and pay attention to the alignment of info that is separate but still related.

 

Typographic Principles

■ Legibility & Readability

Choose a legible typeface, handle it in a manner that enhances its readability: point size, line length, background, etc.

■ Selecting & Mixing

Select a typeface that feels appropriate to the content and mood of the topic! If you use 2 typefaces, be sure they contrast well: serif and sans serif, old style and modern, etc.

■ Typographic refinements

Use beautiful punctuation! Kern large type!

■ Proofread

Print and proof! Proof until your eyeballs burn! Read backwards, check for one type of error at a time, check your copy against the original copy, have someone else proof your work too.

Proof Issues

■ Typos, grammatical errors

■ Inaccurate information

■ Consistency: type, color, layout, spacing, etc.

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