Just as you need seven exposures for your marketing to be effective, I’ve listed seven easy rules to help your design promote and enhance your marketing efforts.
Rule One: Limit Your Fonts
Good design should have an overall look that is consistent. The fonts you select are the first variable you want to limit. I typically like to pick just 2 fonts per design; a header font which can have flare that your audience focuses on and a secondary body copy font that is very legible for larger amounts of content.
Rule Two: Limit Your Colors
Start with a color strategy and stick with it. Use the color palette you’ve set up cohesively throughout your design. Keep in mind color values, the brightness or darkness of the color will allow flexibility within your color scheme.
Rule Three: Add Contrast
Contrast is the value difference between the colors in the design. Contrast, when used properly can be an important tool. When misused can cause vibrating, which happens when two colors together of the same value seem to pulsate. If you use contrast properly you can draw attention to a specific area within your design.
Rule Four: Be Aware Of Spacing
Try not to put too much content into too small of a space. Space allows your copy to be easily read and your overall design to have flow. You can accomplish good spacing by using a grid, it’s your underlying system of organization for your entire design.
Rule Five: Add Depth
Depth (or dimension) is basically, what makes something look extraordinary. Adding depth to your design will help it bust off the page, or conversely, pull the viewer in. Here are a few techniques to help accomplish depth: overlap objects; vary object size, line weight and depth of field or focus; add drop shadows and adjust perspective.
Rule Six: Have Movement Throughout
Creating a sense of movement through a design assists in giving the end-user a clear path for their eye to follow. Sometimes this movement is instrumental in directing the viewer’s eye to the places you want them to look and even the sequence in which you want them to look.
Rule Seven: Put It All Together
Design composition is what you get when you skillfully combine all the pieces together to form a whole. The design should achieve function (purpose), which is determined by the client. Understand your design’s goal, know who the target market is and keep the industry history in mind.
It’s a challenge to educate about good design practices and why they should be done properly. But my motto is clean, consistent, functional and less is best. And finally, when you know the rules you can break them successfully!