Welcome to our constantly updating Insight - EvenVision Design Tip of the Week.
Each week, our team at EvenVision compiles little tips regarding design that we believe are valuable and actionable for small businesses. But in their simplicity, these design tips are valuable for everyone.
These tips answer questions from local businesses in Humboldt and around Northern California from the various organizations that we work with. If you've got a design question you don't see an answer for feel free to shoot us a message!
MARCH 27, 2017 - DESIGN TIP OF THE WEEK #1
Clean, Simple, Refined.
"A Good Message is brief, specific and useful. Clean up the chaos, remove the clutter, simplify your imagery and keep your message simple. Doing this will make your message and design refined and useful."
Great designs are clean, simple and refined. We recommend that you clean up the chaos that surrounds your message, make the design as simple as possible, and aim for a refined message (strip out anything unnecessary).
Remember: the whole point of your design is to help facilitate the message, whatever that may be. Do not allow graphics or images to stand in the way of your message, but let them work to support your message. This is not only true for print, but also for web design.
APRIL 3, 2017 - DESIGN TIP OF THE WEEK #2
Contrast is Key
"Contrast is key to a good design and great message. It's imperative that your design is legible from near and far. Make sure your colors and text contrast with each other."
We cannot overstate the importance of contrast. If you're attempting to make a sign, a poster, or even just a business card to catch people's attention make sure the text is legible against the background. Feel free to play with contrasting background colors, but make sure that the message is legible.
A perfect everyday example: Yard Sale Signs. When written in black pen on a piece of brown cardboard the message is illegible from a distance because it lacks contrast. Try instead to write your Yard Sale Sign on a red piece of paper with large black block letters. Or better yet, use a dark red and a light white color pen. Contrast is Key.
APRIL 10, 2017 - DESIGN TIP OF THE WEEK #3
Don't be too shy to SCALE
"Use Scale to make a more dynamic design that features a Visual Order, which gives the design the "pop" needed to bring key points to attention. The more dramatic the difference the better."
Want something to pop? The solution is Visual Order. Use Scale to your advantage, but remember, if everything is big, nothing is. Similar to contrast, if everything important is in red, nothing will stand out.
Visual Order, as defined here provides a hierarchy or ranked structure for your message. Certain things just simply aren't as important as others. Looking at the image above you can see that "SCALE" is by miles the most important aspect of the image. That will stick with people when they read it. However, you can also see that there is additional information, so if the word "SCALE" pops out and intrigues you, you can lean in and read more.
APRIL 17, 2017 - DESIGN TIP OF THE WEEK #4
"Use different typefaces within designs for different messages. The typeface you select will speak volumes before the words are even read. The best practice is to use a few carefully curated typefaces that capture your identity, and gives character to your message."
Every typeface is different. Some are clean, some replicate handwriting, others look chiseled and scream with character. Perhaps the best example of typefaces in action is to simply look at movie posters. Movie posters are the golden example of typeface utilization that speaks volumes about a movie. A typeface selected for a horror film will differ greatly from that of a romantic comedy.
Want to learn more about typefaces? We've written an insight called "Intro to Typography" which spells out in great depth the basics of typeface selection. Check it out!
APRIL 24, 2017 - DESIGN TIP OF THE WEEK #5
Alignment is Astounding
"Never underestimate the value of alignment. Simply aligning your test to one side can have surprisingly impressive results. Alignment refines your message, provides a clean design, and is visually attractive."
One of the most common mistakes in designs that we see from small businesses is the sporadic and random alignment that floats through their design work. This is distracting, and as we know, anything that distracts from your message being read and understood needs to go. The simple truth is that aligning text within a design flush left or right can make a design and message infinitely more legible.
That said, flush left is always best. Why? Because we read left-to-right. That simple.
May 1st, 2017 - DESIGN TIP OF THE WEEK #6
White Space is Beautiful
"Clean, spacious layouts give people breathing room to process a message."
The number one issue that we see in design work is a lack of white space. For a small business owner, it can be difficult to understand that white space is actually vital and important. Often times they see a small space for a message and try to cram it full of everything under the sun. But instead of getting their message across they make their message impossible to read and process.
It's better than to have white space because the perception of the organization from a clean layout is better for presenting a message than a cluttered design full of visual disturbances. White space helps people process a message.
May 8th, 2017 - DESIGN TIP OF THE WEEK #7
"Images placed with clean layouts/grids not only look fantastic but provide structure and organization to a design."
This is yet another little tip that we often see broken within design work from local businesses. Images scattered randomly throughout a design, or images that are not aligned properly can easily make an otherwise professionally designed pieces of marketing look shoddy at best. We will always recommend to people to use a clean simple grid or some manner or structure layout to present images. This way the images can add value to a design rather than detract from it.
May 15th, 2017 - DESIGN TIP OF THE WEEK #8
"Even simple animations go a long way towards making captivating imagery and designs."
Want to capture your audience? Want them to be locked into your message and focus on your marketing? Well if your marketing is displayed through a digital platform try animating it. Give it a subtle motion to draw people in and keep them hooked. Something as small and simple as the bouncing dot over the "i" can mystically memorize people for significantly longer than had it simply said "Animate."
Here's an example of a nice little animation that we made and included in our recent Insight: Website Speed.
May 22nd, 2017 - DESIGN TIP OF THE WEEK #9
Less Tell, More Show
"Illustrate information to give the data weight and help people digest your message quickly."
Generally speaking quantifying a task provides a means of understanding the surpasses a qualitative report. Example:
Quantitative report: We decreased the site load speed from 7.94 seconds to 1.01 seconds, that is 786% faster.
Qualitative report: We improved the user experience by decreasing the time that they needed to sit and wait for things to load.
Obvious the weight of the quantitative report will be significantly more valuable to a company or business that's attempting to prove their return on investment. By taking that information and designing it as a means of expressing the difference you can see that the information jumps even further off the page and gives it significantly more "Ah-HA!" To be poetic: by designing a quantitative data you can express the difference and capture the qualitative element required to get that data to stick.
Take a look at the example below, from our blog post on site speed.
Stop trying to tell people you're making a difference, and learn to show them.
June 12th, 2017 - DESIGN TIP OF THE WEEK #10
Less Tell, More Show
"Optimal line-length for legibility ranges from 50-75 characters per line. Anything over that make it challenging for readers to focus."
Line length is something incredibly easy to overlook. Thankfully it's a simple fix. Below is an example of how line length can cause legibility issues. Notice how much easier it is to read the text when the line length falls under the 75 characters.
Shorter line lengths also provide for significantly quicker reading as the reader is capable of focusing on the content rather than getting visually lost.
As a fine note it is worth noting that not all mediums are the same. Magazines and newspapers have a little more wiggle room as a print medium, but even they will default to the use of structured columns to break up the line length. Keep a close eye out for this use of columns the next time you open up a magazine or website.