Are you considering changing up the designs of your branding? Do you run your own business and tackle the creative side of design? What are some of the best design practices that designers recommend following?
In this podcast episode, Samantha Carvalho speaks about 11 best practices when it comes to design.
In This Podcast
Color is without a doubt the most important and complex aspect of any design. It can help to set the appropriate mood, create an atmosphere, convey emotions, and can even evoke a strong individual experience in viewers.
You don’t necessarily want to just go with your favorite colors when it comes to thinking of which color you want to make your brand. You want to put a bit more thought into it and kind of think of what the colors are going to convey, how people are going to feel when they interact with them and what it’s gonna cause them to do.
Ultimately, you want to guide your viewers to perform some kind of action through your website or social media. Using color with your images can guide them to take certain actions.
There are 4 main types of balance in design: symmetrical, asymmetrical, radial, and crystallographic.
- Symmetrical balance works best with illustrations, drawings, blog graphics, and photographs whereas asymmetrical balance creates tension through contrast.
- Asymmetrical balance can be visually interesting and if used incorrectly, can confuse a viewer. Designers recommend sticking with symmetrical design if you are new to creating your own branding.
- Radial – picture a spiral staircase
- Crystallographic – picture a tray of donuts with different toppings
Lines are the visual direction of the image that help to guide the eyes where you want it to go.
Straight lines imply order while curved lines suggest movement.
When you are adding lines to your design, pay close attention to where they draw the reader’s eye across the image. Aim to create a local path for the reader to follow, and if you want someone to land at a certain point on your website or social media, using lines can be incredibly helpful in achieving this.
When selecting which font/s to use in your design, one of the most important aspects to keep in mind is readability.
- Limit your design to a maximum of 2-3 typefaces
- Use font sizing that fits well within the medium you are publishing to
- Traditionally, serif fonts are best for print and sans-serif for web
- Kerning (space between letters) is a great technique to use in your titles
Contrast provides differentiation between elements, making one stand out or pop more than the other elements.
When using contrast, keep balance in mind and use it in moderation. If you contrast your images too much, it can become visually confusing and then nothing stands out.
You can add contrast with colors, with shapes, and with sizes:
- Colors: light typography on a darker background
- Shapes: create contrast between symmetrical and asymmetrical shapes
- Sizes: make certain aspects of the design bigger or smaller to make them stand out and be eye-catching
Scale refers to the deliberate sizing of various elements on your design and can help you bring certain elements into focus, allowing readers to make better sense of a concept that you are wanting to portray.
You include the most important information in the image, and you can have other information in the description. Think: what are the most important elements you want people to take away from your design? Then make those bigger.
Proximity helps to create a sense of organization in your design. Similar or related elements are best grouped together to highlight the relationship between them.
You can connect them by placing them physically together or through other creative options like having them share a similar color or font.
This helps you get your most important message across first. Start with the first piece of information that is the most important, and follow down with the second and third in a hierarchy of importance.
Scale, proximity, and hierarchy overlap but they all emphasize figuring out what is the most important element of the design and making that the focus.
This is also known as consistent branding. There are 3 things to try to be consistent within your designs; color, fonts, and logos.
Maintain consistent branding across all your designs. It encompasses your visual identity and you can pass it along to any design that you work with so that your basic style of design is maintained. It creates credibility to use consistent branding and gives your brand a unique and instantly recognizable look.
The way the human eye moves across designs, images, websites and other elements is unique but often consistent. That’s why it’s important to guide your audience along the path that you’d like them to follow in your image.
Website design research has shown that the majority of readers read the information in a capital F, E, or Z direction. This is a good design tip: place your most important information and elements along the upper left-hand side or all along the left-hand side.
Negative or white space is the area that surrounds images and text. More often than not, what you chose to leave out of your image is as important as what you add. Do not underestimate the power of simplicity.
Extra tip: Knolling: organizing objects at right angles with negative or white space that surround each element. This is also known as flat lays and can be a creative way to set out your design.
- Digital Versus Print Design: 6 Things to Consider | MP 36
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Meet Sam Carvalho
Sam Carvalho is a graphic designer living in Cape Town, South Africa, with over five years of experience in both design and marketing, with a special interest and experience in the start-up environment.
She has been working with Practice of the Practice since 2016 and has helped over 70 therapist entrepreneurs take their practices to the next level by enhancing their visual branding. She loves working with a variety of clients on design-intensive tasks and is always up for a challenge!
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