Friday, August 25, 2017

There’s a lot of bad design out there. We’ve all seen posters or billboards that made us stop and wonder “what were they thinking!”

It’s easy to point out what we don’t like about a design, whether it be frustrating font choices or an overwhelming amount of content, it’s all been done before and it doesn’t go unnoticed. You would think that just as we notice bad design, that we would appreciate good design even more when we see it. But that’s not always the case.

The purpose of a well-designed ad isn’t to just grab the viewer’s attention for the sake of being eye-catching, it’s to get that person to read the content and hopefully act on it. When a design is good, the messaging that it is trying to convey should flow in a more natural way, making the design itself less of a focus. The following is a list of five details that often go unnoticed that will help boost a design’s impact.

1. Hierarchy

When you see a well-designed poster for an event, you typically don’t find yourself asking questions like “what is this event for? when is it happening? or where can I learn more about it?” Instead, the content is clear from the start because the hierarchy of information helps lead a viewer's eye to the most important content. Headlines are typically the largest pieces of text in a design, which makes sense because that is what gets us interested.

2. Contrast

It’s important to make sure key pieces of information don’t blend in with surrounding images or background elements. Legibility and readability are fundamental for things like billboards that have to be read quickly. If a design has too many elements that end up blending together, there won’t be a good reaction from viewers.

3. Color

Strategic use of color is one of the easiest ways to improve a design, especially when it comes to typography. Using a dark gray, as opposed to black, will soften the look of body copy when it’s placed on a white background, making it more comfortable for people to read. Using an eye-catching color, like fire engine red, on a design can be a great way to draw a person’s attention, but purple text on a red background would be too hard to read. Instead, white text would stand out much better and add visual interest to the design.

4. Content vs. White Space

It can be hard to find the right balance between too much and too little. Most times, it might seem necessary to cram every little piece of information you can into an ad just to make sure you’re covering all your bases. Instead, including just the right amount of information to get the viewer interested enough to make a further effort to learn about something is more effective. Engaging headlines and clear calls-to-action are critical aspects of this. When there is enough white space, or area left free of content, it not only helps to clean up a potentially busy design, but it is also another way to help lead a viewer’s eye through information.

5. Typography

There are so many great typefaces out there and with the help of services like Typekit and Google Fonts, more of them are readily available for use (sometimes for free!). The trick is to not overdo it by using too many in a single piece. My go-to rule is to limit any project to two typefaces, maximum. One can be used for headlines and can be a bit more unique and “eye-catching” as long as it is still readable and fits within the style of the brand. The second one should be versatile (available in various weights/styles) and simple.

Here at Archer, our experienced and award-winning production team knows that every detail counts, which is why we always take into account these five details along with many others. To find out more about our design process, contact us today!