3 Tips to K.I.S.S. Your Designs
We have all been told to ‘keep it simple stupid’ (K.I.S.S.) at some point in our life. I am sharing the same advice with you today about design. More often than not, most people are shy about design because they think that they have to create some complicated, super fancy piece of work. How many times have we been affected by the haunting thought that “well, I can’t do that?” Or, in other instances, we work too hard to overcompensate for our lack of design skills and end up with something that might be a little too “extreme.”
Last week was part one of our series on design for the amateur designer. The article highlighted seven tools that are extremely helpful in designing visual content for people of any experience level (ICYMI: here is a link). Today, I wanted to focus on three basic pieces of advice to help you get started in building a design. In the theme of keeping it simple, these three tips are extremely basic and, well...simple!
1. Fonts/Typefaces - the first thing is understanding which typefaces will best convey your message. There are a few classifications that I would add to your vocabulary: a) serif - elegant, sophisticated typeface that has a little ‘extra’ stroke to finish off the font; b) sans serif - solid, strong typeface that is considered hard edged with no extra finish; c) rounded - basically a sans serif typeface but with a more friendly connotation; d) script - also elegant and used to symbolize actual handwriting.
Secondly, don’t try to make every word or phrase a different font. Keep the text of one image in the same typeface and build contrast from different variations of that one typeface. It makes it difficult on the eyes to scan multiple typefaces; you want your text to be clear and easy to read. The example below uses different variations of the Aileron family, while also using bold and italics to create additional variety.
2. Color Schemes - the basic idea behind choosing text and background colors is that you have to be able to read the text! Like the suggestion above about limiting typefaces, the same is true for color schemes. The easiest piece of advice is to simply experiment with colors of the same hue (translated - shade). Using the color (or brightness) slider will allow you to accomplish this without any effort at all. The bottom line is that you want to create some variety while making sure the image is clear and easy to ready. In the example below, the finer typefaces are actually in the same hue, but of a lighter shade so that they stand out to the darker background. The more bold typefaces can withstand being a little more dark since they have more fill space.
3. Alignment - basically with alignment you don't want your text to be floating all over your image! That doesn't mean that everything needs to be symmetrical or centered all of the time. You can also align the text to the left or right depending on the background and overall construction, too. Other times you can apply shapes, like the lines in the image below, or other icon embellishments, to create alignment and give a logical order to the text. Once again, you need to make sure that the flow of the text will make sense to the reader. If you haven't figured it out yet, clarity is the key word for all of these tips.
Feel free to share your thoughts and ideas about designing visual content. I am always looking for new thoughts and ideas myself! Please share some of what you create in the comments below - I would love to see your work.