Always Design For Your Audience
Most designs start out with a brief, even if it is a personal project, a designer will often (consciously or subconsciously) brief themselves with the basic information. One of the more important elements of a brief is the question “who am I designing for?” Every design has an intended audience, the people that will be viewing the design and receiving the communication, so it makes sense to keep them in mind.
Avoid Widows And Orphans
An easy way to take your design from amateurish to polished and professional is to recognise and eliminate typographical widows and orphans. The odd few widows and orphans are bound to pop up in any type-based design you undertake, it’s almost inevitable, but recognising them and dealing with them is the important step.
Have A Logical Colour Palette
Colour is a powerful tool for designers, so it makes sense that a carefully arranged and consistent palette would be an important step in all design endeavours.
When compiling a colour palette, it might be worth looking into colour theory and past uses of colour. Colour theory dictates that certain hues can certain effects on consumers, i.e. orange is thought to stimulate an appetite, which is why orange is a commonly used in fast food designs.
Have A Consistent Font Palette
Just as you have a palette of colours, so should you have a carefully selected palette of fonts. Also like colours, certain fonts have certain ‘moods’ or ‘emotions’ associated with them – you probably wouldn’t use Curlz MT for a law firm branding.
Never Use Display Fonts For Body Copy
Using a display font for body copy is a bit like wearing a ballgown to the supermarket – it’s not the right time or place, it can be confusing for others and it just isn’t a very smart move.
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 purposes, and thanks to this flashiness, they often better suit a short title, sometimes a subheading, but never a bulk piece of text.
Never Stretch Type
This is a very simple rule, it’s easy to understand, easy to remember and easy to execute: do not stretch your type. In any case. Fonts are (most of the time) 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 of the font.
Avoid Colour Discord
More commonly referred to as ‘colour clashing’, colour discord commonly occurs when two colours that are widely separated on the colour wheel are paired together. Discordant colours create a muddy or ‘vibrating’ effect that makes it a struggle for the eye to find the line between each colour.
Don’t Think Of White Space As Empty Space
White space is one of those diverse and effective tools that can add something special to your design. Well used white space can have many beneficial effects for your design. It can help put more focus on a specific aspect of your composition, it can let your design ‘breathe’, it can help balance out your elements or it can add some sophistication to your design.