Design Dos and Don’ts

Guest Post by Julie Brown-Hallman

I love a good list. I’m constantly making them. As a kid, my sister mocked me for being a Lister. As an adult, I married one (makes life easier). So what better list for me to share with you than a rundown of Design Dos and Don’ts?

Diva’s Dos

1. Do use contrast and dimension. This one is numero uno for a reason. If these little babies show up in every piece you create, you can do no wrong.

2. Do use a focal point. A very close second. This will grab the viewer’s eye and lead it around the rest of the design. Some famous examples… the Eiffel Tower, Elizabeth Arden’s door, the sun….

3. Do be consistent. I know, I know, I keep pounding you over the head with this one. Just count yourself lucky I didn’t make it number one.

4. Do make things relate to each other. In other words, don’t let them float. Line elements up – with each other or with margins.

5. Do use white space. Do not be afraid. This is a personal Diva fave. Lots of white space around an object draws attention to it. Trust me.

Diva’s Don’ts

1. Don’t be inconsistent. Ah, there it is! And at number one too. The biggest underminer of any brand.

2. Don’t use too many fonts or colours. Limits are good. My personal rule is two or three fonts (or depending on the design style), and four or five colours for one piece. Don’t shoot for the rainbow on this one.

3. Don’t use internet graphics in print pieces. So put away that gif file you downloaded because your annual report – or Grandpa Bill’s Christmas newsletter – needs your head shot. Monitors use a resolution of 72dpi, and print uses 300dpi.

4. Don’t use text below 6pt. Unless it’s a website – or your audience is over 80 – then don’t go under 12pt.

5. Don’t use Comic Sans. It’s a bad font with a funny name. Come to think of it, don’t use any font just because it’s “so fun, so cool, or I-never-get-to-use-it”. Have your font reflect the tone of your piece.

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