8 principles of solid design

You’ve now done your research and you know who your audience is, so let talk about design.

The chances are you won’t be designing your visual identity yourself, however, don’t just assume this means that you shouldn’t learn something about design. You will benefit greatly from taking some time to learn the principles of solid graphic design, to help focus your designer on what you want them to achieve.

It won’t hurt to go and get hold of some graphic design books or read a few online tutorials to get this useful background – but if you don’t have the time, use the tips below to help you guide your designer.

Tip 1 - Keep it clean

Keep the look clean and simple. It’s really important not to overload the viewer visually. Make sure elements in a brochure or flyer are aligned and orderly.

Tip 2 - Headings

Where text is used, such as in brochures, flyers or presentations, use headings and subheadings to lead the reader into the content and provide scanning points as they browse.

Tip 3 - Go easy on the text

Avoid having too much text on a page. Pages filled with text are not appealing to the reader, so make sure you break up copy with pictures, illustrations and charts.

Tip 4 - Space can be your friend

Learn to love white space. Don’t be afraid of leaving areas of a page blank. While you might be tempted to make use of every inch available – particularly if you’re paying for some advertising space in a magazine or journal – try to resist. White space serves as a visual frame for the rest of the content on the page and makes that content stand out.

Tip 5 - Visualising data

When visualising data in your content, try to use charts and graphs rather than tables. Brochures are visual documents, so use graphics to boost interest and make numbers meaningful.

Tip 6 - A picture paints a thousand words

If you need to explain lots of complicated data in your collateral, and a chart or graph is too simple, try to use clever infographics instead. Infographics can really liven up your content and are a great way of explaining complex information in a simple, visual way.

Tip 7 - Design consistency

Make sure your marketing materials have a consistent style. That doesn’t mean every brochure or flyer looks the same, but they should all look like they have been planned as a compatible unit. Imagine your collateral laid out in front of you on a conference table. Does it all look like it comes from the same company? It should.

…and finally tip 8 - Photography

Use a professional photographer. If your marketing material includes photos, make sure they’re good ones. Amateur snapshots can ruin all the good work you’ve done with your visual identity, by making you look amateur and unprofessional, and undermining the quality of your product. Strong, professionally photography will set you apart from other small companies.

Next week I look at the kinds of marketing materials you might need but if you can’t wait that long, you can download the full guide by clicking on the button below.

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