Whether you are the owner of a law firm who needs to create assets for your business, a marketer within the legal sector looking to create show-stopping designs to enhance your campaigns or an entry-level graphic designer who is keen to raise the bar, you’ve come to the right place.
In today’s blog, we will be exploring the 8 principles that should underpin every great design. The phrase: “Sit there and look pretty” certainly doesn’t apply in this situation; we want to create attention-grabbing graphics that drive action and help you to achieve your goals – and following the below principles will help you to do just that.
Before you even think about getting creative, you must first establish the purpose of your design. Then think about what information will help you fulfil this and should therefore be prioritised. That will be your focal point: the first thing people see when they look at your graphic.
To highlight these important points, you must create a hierarchy. In doing so, you will emphasise key areas and create connections that will guide viewers through your design in a logical order.
A number of characteristics can be altered to create a hierarchy within your designs, including:
- Size – the larger your element, the more noticeable it will be.
- Alignment – elements that are aligned will stand out less.
- Whitespace – a large area of whitespace around an element will naturally draw attention by making it more visible to users.
- Colour – bright, contrasting colours are more eye-catching.
- Typeface – everything from the weight and style to italicisation and letter spacing can affect visual hierarchy.
- Repetition – can be used to link related elements together.
Have you ever created something that you thought was perfect, but when you take a step back, you realise something isn’t quite right? It’s not the colours, the imagery or the font – something you can’t seem to put your finger on. Well, we may have the answer you’ve been racking your brains trying to find: alignment.
Alignment is what helps to create an ordered appearance and makes everything look a whole lot cleaner and sharper. Depending on your design, you may choose to align things to the centre, left or right – or perhaps even a combination. It’s also common to align to other elements within your graphic. And as we mentioned above, alignment can work both ways: if you want an element to stand out, making it out of alignment with the rest of your design can help draw attention to it.
You can use contrast to add an extra dimension to your designs and really highlight those key elements. This will add emphasis where required and help to guide viewers to the most important aspects of your graphic.
Contrast is all about opposition; the greater the difference, the greater the impact. And like with hierarchy, contrast can be achieved by altering numerous characteristics, including colour, texture, size and white space.
As a law firm, you will (or certainly should) have clear brand guidelines in place detailing specific colours, fonts and imagery to be used. And guess what: those guidelines are in place for a reason. By repeating specific elements across your designs, you will be creating consistency, which not only looks great but will help people remember you too! Think about it: the more you see something, the more likely you are to recall and recognise it in the future.
When used within your designs, repetition will not only strengthen your brand image but will also help to create consistency, cohesiveness and a lasting impression. Not to mention the role it plays in building the visual hierarchy that we discussed earlier!
The power of negative (or white) space should never be underestimated. Whilst many obsess over colour, imagery and text, very few remember that less can be more. As we mentioned at the start of this blog, space can be used to create hierarchy and focus within your designs. It’s also great for creating a cleaner, more minimalist feel and conveying different meanings such as calmness, openness, purity and solitude. So, simple really is effective.
What comes to mind when you think of happiness? Yellow? And what about anger? Red? Whether you are conscious of it or not, our brains are wired to make associations, meaning colour can have a big impact on our thoughts, decisions and reactions. They can evoke emotions, enhance experiences, create lasting impressions and, of course, increase brand awareness – so choosing the right ones is a big deal.
To ensure you know what’s what when it comes to selecting the brand colours for your law firm, get clued up with our ultimate guide to colour psychology here.
Striking the right balance within your designs can be difficult. But it is important. The balance will allow you to create stability, cohesiveness and overall, just a more aesthetically pleasing design. Like with the above, it can be achieved through manipulating a range of characteristics, including shape, size, colour and movement.
Several types of balance can be considered within your designs, including:
- Symmetrical balance
- Asymmetrical balance
- Radial balance
If elements are close together, you will naturally make connections between them. Similarly, if they are further apart, this will indicate a lack of relationship. By understanding the principle of proximity, you will not only be able to create a clearer hierarchy and improve the experience for your audience, but your designs will look a lot cleaner, too.
So there we have a whistle-stop tour of the 8 design principles that should underpin every asset, web design and everything in between. If your law firm is really looking to make a stand, contact us for a free consultation with one of our marketing experts to discover how we can help elevate your brand and deliver designs that make an impact.