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Five top tips to improve your design process

| By: Flavia Mayer (Illustrator / design support @ Briefbox)

No matter what you are designing, there are some golden rules in design that are always good to bear in mind. Take a read of my top tips below to consider during your design process;

1. Padding

Here at Orca Design padding is a big thing(!) Be it a layout, a logo or even an illustration, we feel that every design needs a bit of space to breathe. And so, during your design process, be sure to keep a good amount of space between your individual elements. See below one of our recent designs as an example:

padding

2. Balance

Harmony is everything in design. This is really important to consider during your layout process – to find a way to balance the text and imagery on the page and so our eyes have time to rest and process the information at hand. Look out for ways to create symmetry in your designs, say for instance, if you have a big picture on the left hand side of the page, use some text on the right side to balance the page out and keep it even. As you can see in our example below, the image on the left hand side has been balanced out with text and the smaller images other side of the document.

ClearWater-mockup1

3. Legibility

The information on your piece of artwork needs to be clear and legible. Consider, how easy it will be for your reader to take on board the information presented, is your type big enough? Is the main content highlighted and clear to read? Sometimes there’s so much data we need to include, in one piece of artwork, that’s hard to make everything sit together on the page. One good way to really consider this is to print out your document or mock it up (if we’re talking about a website, for example). Your artwork will now be a lot clearer to view and consider the layout in its actual proportions. See below, a design we created for a 10x10cm label (which contained a lot of information). Printing the artwork out, during this stage of design, was very useful:

legibility

4. Hierarchy

Different information requires different treatment. Let’s say you’re making an event poster, for example, where the date, time and venue are the most important pieces of information and should be the second or third thing that your eyes catch after the event’s name. Numbering things or making a quick sketch before you start designing might be a good way to make sure you’ve got this right. Different typefaces, weights, colours, lines, boxes… all these elements are there to help you, just make sure you consider them! See below, where we organised the initial layout for the Briefbox website:

Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 12.39.01

5. Coherence

Taking into consideration, all these elements listed above such as different typefaces, weights, colours, lines and boxes etc… It’s important to note that we don’t go crazy with all this information here(!!) Be selective and choose a style, a couple of typefaces, a colour palette and be consistent with it. Too much visual information can be overwhelming for the viewer. A good way to avoid this, is to start your process by looking for inspiration and then deciding on a set style, to ensure that you have a good direction and don’t get overwhelmed with the infinite possibilities out there(!) We also use style tiles during our design process, which can be a great visual aid to help guide the designs. See below a recent style tile that used whilst designing for the lifestyle magazine, Terasu.

terasu-style-guide

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