What I mean by this article’s title is that there are rules to great design and they matter. While breaking the rules in art can be a good thing and has been known to produce some fabulous and innovative compositions, for the most part, you need to at least be aware of “best practices” first before heading into this delicate territory!
Here’s some basic rules designed to guide you away from some of the more common mistakes.
- Use Consistent Fonts: In the same way you carefully consider your campaign/brand’s color palette, you should also think about font families. Fonts evoke “feelings” just like colors or imagery. Prevailing wisdom is to limit a composition to a maximum of 2-3 fonts. When selecting fonts, try to chose those that compliment each other. Check out this Design School article for more on the topic!
- Don’t Use Display Fonts for Body Copy: Using display fonts in the body copy defeats the purpose of using display fonts! They should stand out and be different than the body copy. Usually display fonts are larger, bolder, and/or a bit more flamboyant that body copy. But, if it’s used too much and inappropriately, the copy just becomes that much harder for the reader to comprehend.
- Please, Be Aware of Color Clashing: Color clashing is where two colors together create either a muddy effect or a strange ‘vibration’ when read. Might be an excellent effect if working on a museum art project but when creating marketing graphics, online or off, clear communications is key and that should always involve an easy readability factor.
- White Space IS NOT Empty Space: When there’s too many visual elements on a page, your eye has difficulty focusing on anything. Contrastingly, white space (when used correctly) can help to focus a viewer on exactly the important part(s) of a page…successfully delivering important messages.
- Don’t Follow Design Trends: Hello? They’re trends! By their nature, a trendy design will trend itself right out of vogue and then you’re stuck with a site that looks dated much before it’s time! Web sites and supporting marketing campaigns require too much time and energy to have to re-do before its natural life-cycle is met.