Bad graphic design can drive away sales and create a negative view of your practice.
So what makes for good graphic design? Is it a combination of the right colors? Perhaps a lot of white space? Could it be a particular style of art? In reality, it can be any of these factors, none of these factors, or even a variety of other factors. Graphic design, unlike art, generally should not be a subjective thing; it has a business purpose, and, that being the case, means that it should accomplish a particular goal.
Here are 5 elements you should consider when designing a layout:
Often photographs are the first things chosen. Quality is very important! The image should be chosen to reflect either a theme, a feeling, or mood conveyed in or by your practice, or subject of the project. Choosing just 1 or 2 strong images that support the idea of the project is better than using 4 or 5 weak images. If more then 1 or 2 images are chosen the designer will need to find a way to unify these images into a cohesive whole. A technique for accomplishing this is through the use of a grid to display the images.
Choose a graphic that accents the image, mood or theme of the project or company. Try using the graphic as a leading line. You can also use smaller versions of the graphic to indicate the location of headers, buttons, or new elements in the design. Try inverting the colors, rotating, or cropping these smaller graphics to create interest while still creating a unified feeling.
Try just 2-4 fonts in a layout. One for the title, one for headings, one for body copy, one for everything else for example: captions, footers, copyright, etc… Each font should fit or compliment each other and the overall mood or theme of the project, but each font must also be distinguishable from the others.
2 -3 max Choose to either compliment or contrast the images or the graphics. Try to relate the colors to the mood or theme of the piece. The font colors are particularly important. Fonts must have enough value contrast between them and the background to enhance (not detract) from legibility.
Each of the previous elements must be placed in such a way as to justify its position in relation to its surrounding elements. Options include left or right edge, centered, top or bottom, tangent or along the curve. Regardless, each and every element should have thought and consideration given to its placement. If you can’t say why you put it there, then you haven’t thought it through. Placement affects legibility.
Most common design problems to avoid in a layout:
Exaggerated tabs and indents
Too many typefaces or hard to read fonts
Cramped logos and addresses
Excessive spacing after punctuation
Buried heads and subheads
Too many boxes and rules