Design Rules You Should Never Break (part 2)
In our previous article, we talked about 10 design rules you should never break. In this article, we shall discuss 10 more rules that are not to be broken when it comes to design.
A Good Font Palette
Just as you select a good palette of colors, similarly you decide a good palette of fonts. Also like colors, certain fonts have certain ‘moods’ or ‘emotions’ associated with them. You probably won’t use a fancy or funky font on a notice.
A lot of designers recommend that 2-3 fonts should be a maximum in most cases to avoid overcomplicating the design.
Never Use Display Fonts For Body Copy
Using a display font for body copy is like wearing a wedding dress to a market. Display fonts are fonts that are better suited to smaller areas of text, rather than body copy. They are usually a bit flashier than typefaces designed for body copy purpose but are apt for headings and sub-headings.
Never Stretch the Type
The simple rule is: Don’t stretch your Type. Fonts are built with careful care and attention to the shapes and proportions of each letterform, so to distort this by stretching it can just take away from the effectiveness and usefulness of the font.
Designers often stretch their type. There is a solution to this as there are various fonts for various occasions and purpose. Larger fonts are available so you don’t specifically have a need to stretch the fonts.
Avoid Color Conflict
More commonly referred to as ‘color clashing’, color conflict commonly occurs when two colors that are widely separated on the color wheel are paired together. Discordant colors create a muddy or ‘vibrating’ effect that makes it a struggle for the eye to find the line between each color.
A way to avoid color conflict is to use colors that have a fairly high degree of contrast. The eye can easily pick up on the line between each color, and there is little to no ‘vibration’ or muddiness as there is in the discordant colors to the left.
Use White Space
Well used white space can have many valuable effects for your design. It can help put more focus on a specific element of your design, it can help balance out your elements or it can add some sophistication to your design.
Another thing that white space can do is add meaning to your design without adding in another physical element. Strategically incorporating white space can create wonders in your design.
Don’t Adhere to Design Trends
Sometimes design trends can be a bit like fashion, changing randomly. Design trends come by, get popular for a while, and then slowly fade out. Keep an eye on what’s popular and why it’s popular. A pretty prolific trend only recently was the X-shaped logos. These were quite popular for a while because they were simple, elegant and looked good. But, because they became more extensively used, the trend ended up passing just as quickly as it came.
Use The Right Software
A very common mistake that could be easily avoided with a proper tool selection is rasterized logos. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term raster; there are two types of digital graphic files, rasters, and vectors. A raster graphic is made up of dots or pixels, whereas a vector graphic is made up of many lines or “paths” based on mathematical equations. One of the biggest difference between a vector and raster is the ability to scale the graphic. Since a raster is made up of a certain amount of pixels, at a certain point of scaling, the image will become pixelated but a vector does not.
Going back to the main point, one should know the difference between these formats and also what tools to use when. Raster graphics are commonly made in tools such as Adobe Photoshop and vectors are often created in Adobe Illustrator, so be sure to familiarize yourself with the software, what it can do and what it can create before you launch into a design.
Consider Your Medium
Know where your design is going. On a poster, a website, bound within a magazine? If you don’t know these details of the medium you are designing for, you risk your design being compromised in some way. A common mistake is not counting for gutters when designing for publications. Now, what is a gutter? A gutter is a space between two facing pages that is left both for readability reasons and also to accommodate for the binding process.
In instances where a certain size of a gutter is needed for binding, a designer must account for this during their process, and often this means guaranteeing they don’t place any graphics or type over the gutter. If they do, during the binding process, the design that is spread across the two pages and gutter will run into the seam, simply distorting the image or type.
Consider The Rules Of Grammar
Take time to learn some of the design-oriented rules of grammar that can keep your designs professional and make you feel delightfully superior when you start to notice others’ errors out in the wild.
A common error that is easily fixed is double spaces after punctuation. If you find that your type still looks a little too dense, perhaps try adjusting your tracking or just switch to a new font.
One more point is hyphens and dashes. Basically, there are three types of hyphens/lines: the hyphen (-), the en dash (–) and the em dash (—) and are to be used appropriately. There are plenty of rules to grammar to be taken care of when creating a design.
Don’t Use Too Many Effects
Simple is best, effects like drop shadows, beveling, textures and gradients all have their time and place, just not always together. A quite common situation where a lot of effects are often used is charts and graphs. Stuffed information is so hard to read while de-cluttered information makes for a much easier read and aesthetically pleasing design.
These were the final 10 rules for making a good design. Rules are meant to be broken but it should be kept in mind to adhere to some basics so to create a satisfying design. Hope this article was of help! Happy designing!