Universal design principles and theories can help guide your understanding of what makes good graphic design — but you don't have to learn them all. I've synthesized my knowledge of good design into three key design rules that you can keep in mind the next time you plan the design of your marketing communication:
1. Make it readable.Readability is twofold. Think legibility and comprehension. Knowing your objective and audience is just as important to design as it is to marketing. Ask yourself, is the text easy to read at a glance, and can my audience easily take away the key message I am trying to convey?
2. Make it consistent.
Clear and consistent use of type, graphic styles, and graphic elements gives your audience a framework for receiving your message and understanding the information. You want to provide an overall visual system for your content that brings all elements together into a more easily understandable whole. Consistency makes things instantly recognizable, simplifies learning, improves user experience, and ultimately builds trust.
3. Make it pretty (or make it C.R.A.P.).
I am a graphic designer and communicator in North Carolina. I hold a bachelor’s in visual communication from the UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication and am currently working on a master of science in integrated marketing communications from Northwestern University’s Medill School. I have taught Introduction to Graphic Design at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Follow me at @designmah.