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Design Principles: Balance

Balance is the arrangement of visual weight in a composition. Every object in a composition has visual weight. Heavier objects cause your eye to gravitate towards them. When a design is unbalanced, one object may hold your attention captive. Your gaze might even fall right off the page. A balanced design allows your eye to comfortably flow across all objects on the page.

Many properties affect the visual weight of an object, including size, color, texture, shape, position, and contrast.

Symmetry vs. Asymmetry

There are two ways of creating balance in a composition.

Symmetrical designs place identical or similar objects on either side of a center axis. These designs are formal, classic, and stable.READ MORE

Spotlight on Massimo Vignelli

A few years back I had the sublime pleasure of seeing Massimo Vignelli speak at a design conference. I snapped this photo with my phone when his definition of graphic design came up on the screen. Vignelli passed away this year, so it’s a good time to reflect on his career. You have seen his work— from his New York City subway map, to the classic American Airlines logo, to his melamine dinnerware for Heller. You can view some of his designs on Pinterest.READ MORE

SEO 101

Everyone involved in creating a website should understand the basics of search engine optimization, including the designer. That being said, SEO is not some secret sauce you pour on your website that will make you rich. All it does is help people find you.

I like to work with organizations that are honest and truthful about what they offer. Turns out, that is the best start for good SEO. On the nascent internet of the turn of the century, you could game search engines by stuffing meta tags with repeating search terms. Those days are long gone, and search engines actually work very well now.READ MORE

Design Principles: Rhythm

A basic design principle, rhythm establishes consistency in your design. Repeating elements operate like the bassline in a good tune. Rhythm can create movement through a multi-page publication and help your viewer navigate.

The Law of Focus

I am revisiting a book I read called The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing. The law that I think is most important, and the one I keep emphasizing to my students, is the law of focus. The more narrowly you can define your audience, the more effective your marketing will be. If you can give your ideal customer a name and a story, you have started to personalize your marketing (thank you Anderson Wiese @2wav for introducing me to this process). Focus also applies to what your business offers.

“The essence of marketing is narrowing the focus. You become stronger when you reduce the scope of your operations. You can’t stand for something if you chase after everything.”

—Al Ries & Jack Trout, The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing


Creative Advertising Gets Results

Creative advertising gets more attention from consumers and fosters positive attitudes about the marketed product. Ask any marketing professional, and they’ll tell you that creative ads are more memorable, more cost-effective, and build your product’s fan base faster.READ MORE

Why Design on a Grid?

Think of the grid as the design’s skeleton; you can’t see it, but it gives structure to what you do see. The majority of publication and web designers arrange type and images on a grid. The viewer doesn’t see the grid lines, but can see evidence of them in the rows and columns throughout.