07 February In Graphic Tips & Guidelines, Trade Show Tips by camelback displays
Do’s and Dont’s of Design
A good design has the power to affect and convey a message, theme or event. Designs can range from the simple, elegant and abstract right through to the thought provoking and even controversial!
ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS
When coming up with an idea for a design, one of the most important things to remember is: “Who is the audience”? It’s also worth considering: “Where will this design be seen”? This insight can often lead to another important question: “What media will this be displayed on”? When we get the answers to these important questions, we can proceed to finding the best approach to create the design. Consider these Do’s and Dont’s of Design discussed below in this blog:
COLOR AND NEGATIVE SPACE
Think of your subject matter and your audience. A poster advertising a kids toy will look very different to a poster advertising a Horror Movie! Color, balance and theme play an important role. When designing a campaign for a luxury brand, the use of negative space can be just as crucial and when used correctly, can be extremely useful in getting the message across to the right audience. Good use of negative space allows the reader to focus directly on the product (or service) or brand name. A high street grocery store on the other hand will create a design with many visual elements and have very little or no negative space.
Fig. 2.1. A DeBeers ad. Simplistic in form and color, but strong in perception and theme.
The right font can “Seal-the-Deal”. Typography can sometimes be overlooked in a design. A great design uses a combination of visual elements and good use of typography. There are certain fonts that sometimes go with a particular theme. Script and elegant fonts, for example, will typically be used in announcements or invitations. Also remember that in most cases, your text should be visible and easy to read. In most cases, background color and text color should contrast each other. In some cases, however, the text and background can blend with each other and this can produce an entirely different effect. A good design will rarely show any more than 2 different font families.
IMAGERY AND ILLUSTRATION
In some cases, a good image or illustration can make a design really stand out where just text alone cannot. Action shots are a great example. Certain imagery can also “imply” or “suggest” a certain message. Sometimes, even a partial image can work just as well. The cosmetic industry is a good example of this. Sometimes, a single large image is suitable. The image is the background and conveys the message. Take for example a poster or ad promoting The Grand Canyon. Used correctly, this style of design can be very appealing. Illustrations can sometimes be used to great effect. This was the distinctive style of the pop-art movement.
BACKGROUND COLOR AND BACKGROUND IMAGERY
Background color doesn’t always need to be white (or black). Gradients and blends can give a feel of “movement” and is less static. A background when used well can give a sense of fluidity to the design. Solids, gradients / blends and even images that fade into the background can all have a positive impact on the overall design.
ATD – ATTENTION TO DETAIL
This area is sometimes the most overlooked. It cannot be stressed more, accuracy, checking your work and taking the extra time to “clean” any artwork is paramount to an outstanding design. So many good designs (and good designers) neglect this area… and to their peril! There is nothing more deflating and even embarrassing than to have a spelling error in your design, or a part of an image that just should not have been in the final design piece. Remember, it’s your reputation on the line (and the company that employs you). These tiny errors can have the biggest ramifications and consequences – time, energy, money, reputation are all at stake. So what are the best practices to ensure a successful design piece.
- Proof read your work. Read it backwards, print it out
- Have another set of eyes look at the project
- Re-read the clients instructions
- If there’s a lot of editorial text – copy and paste in another software application and “spell-check” again
- Preflight artwork
- Communicate with the vendor – make sure everyone is on the same page
EFFORT AND IMAGINATION
1: The font for the logo is bland and lacks originality and style. There are many “Western” style fonts to choose from and this was an extremely poor choice, especially for the logo!
2: Bad use of geometry. This looks more like an envelope rather than food packaging. Also, the bright yellow is terribly distracting – a much better color(s) could have been chosen.
3: The secondary part of the logo lacks depth. There is no drop shadow (or even a shadow below the horses feet and wagon). It’s flat and unimaginative.
4: Why put this text in white? Even the choice of font is weak. Overall, the fonts used in this design lack any sense of correctness.
5: The sausage looks like a “smiley face” with brown teeth. No after-thought was ever put towards this.
6: The white outline is not consistent between the different text frames.
7: This may be one of the most important labels on this product – but it was given very little priority.
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