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Entries in graphics (2)


Live From The Field


Edit: Sorry for the odd post. I forgot that I had to tag things properly to get it to format from my phone

Defrag Your Designs

On some level you probably want your designs to be accessible and efficient. Even if you have a more complicated or detailed design, there should be a simpler structure supporting it. Inspired by a Lifehacker post on office organization as unlikely as it sounds, I've come up with a few ideas that might help in your self-critique:

Group related items together. A grouping of things becomes a single thing. If you have a choice—loften the client or whoever will want things a specific way—move things around. Can any two ideas be links together? This might mean putting some text together, but it could also mean grouping things into a single design. You may have a heading and a subheading which you've somehow connected into a single design element. Or in web design, the group of navigational items into a bar is a pretty common example. A logo is another thing that is usually a collection of design elements into a single thing. Several designs might have to exist on a single page. Ever notice how a page of newspaper editorial may have to deal with several stories, infoboxes and images on a single page? Some newspapers feel cluttered and others combine and simplify the elements to show just about the same amount of information without looking so overwhelming.

Newspapers often have to group several stories on one page. Notice how the colored blurb boxes are their own little designs, but function as a single element in the grand scheme of it. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Create a landing strip. The idea of a focal point seems like a no brainer, but many new designers miss it. Working in advertising design, it wasn't unusual to see an advertisement that didn't have a clear headline among the tons of starbursts, images, colors and boxes. If I got the chance to redesign, the first thing I did was to make something big (or use some other eye catching technique) for impact. Maybe every bit of information in your project is just as important and needs to be bolded, boxed and starbursted ... But just pick one if you want them to get to the rest. Blogs often do this with their attention grabbing headers, although you've probably seen all the variations of it.

You didn't forget white space, did you? In your final checks, don't overlook white space. We all obsess about it and then you go and fill it all up. You don't have room in your design for white space, you cry! Well, it's much better to make things smaller than to have everything looking overwhelmingly cramped in. Especially if it actually is cramped in there. In our newspaper example, leaving things out isn't much of an option so it's most important here to give things some room.