What makes a design great? Great design follows the elements of form, feeling, and function. This tutorial provides examples that effectively illustrate these basic principles. You will learn how to use Illustrator to create graphics that meet all three criteria. You will also learn to create visually appealing designs that have a pleasing color palette with an understandable and easy-to-read message.
What makes a great design? Off the top of your head, that's probably a pretty tough question to answer. In fact, a lot of people don't know what great design is until it's looking them right in the face. In this movie, I'm going to be breaking down three basic elements that make up good design that you can look for every day. I'll also give you some examples of designs that I've found that fall right in line with all three. Good designs follow what I like to call the F3 rule, which stands for form, feeling, and function. Form refers to the aesthetic parts of the design, meaning what it looks like.
In order to exhibit good form, a design must be visually appealing to the audience with a good color palate and have well thought out typography. And while aesthetics are one of the main things that come to mind when we talk about graphic design, they're definitely not the only piece to the puzzle. Steve Jobs once said that design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works. One of the other pieces that help make it work is the feeling. When we talk about the feeling of a design, we're referring to whether or not the design stays on message.
If there's consistency in the mood that it creates and whether or not that mood evokes the proper emotional response from the intended audience. Donald A Norman once said, Everything has a personality. Everything sends an emotional signal. Even where this was not the intention of the designer, the people who view the website infer personalities and experience emotions. Now he's specifically referencing websites here, but this is true for all designs. And we have to be aware of this as designers and learn to effect and guide the emotions of those who view our work.
The final element in the F3 rule is function. Function refers to how something works and whether or not it serves its intended purpose. That means being easy to read and understand and also that the form is executable within the given medium in which it was presented. For instance, is this artwork reproducible in billboard form? Will this typeface work on this packaging design, et cetera. One of my favorite quotes on function, which sadly I'm unable to attribute, says, form without function is just a pretty sheet of paper.
That's very true. You should always be aware of what your design is supposed to do and where it's supposed to go once it leaves your desk. Keep that in the back of your head throughout the design process so you can better match the form to the intended function of the finished product. Now that we understand the three elements of good design, let's take a look at some examples I've collected in four main categories, ads, business cards, brochures, and logos. Let's start with print advertisements. Here's an example that comes from Mini Cooper, and this is one they did around Halloween. It's got a nice play on, you know, we only come out at night.
Happy Halloween. The Mini Cooper's up top looking kind of like a bat hanging upside down. The mirrors sort of represent the bat ears. It's a great little play on how youthful and fun the Mini Cooper brand is. I think this ad is really well done. Not a lot of text. Nothing to distract you. Very clean. This one is one of my favorites, and, at first glance, you might not even know what it is, but, really, it's an ad for a blender. And it's by Kitchen Aid, and there's no mention of the product anywhere on this ad at all. But, when you see it, you know, oh, it's a strawberry banana.
And what do people do with blenders? They make strawberry-banana smoothies and things like that. So instantly you're, like, whoa. I get it. And it might take you just a second to really understand what they're pushing here, but that's the point. They want you to be interested in the ad without so much as bringing up the hard sell. I think this is really well done again. And finally this is another ad from Nike. I'm really partial to their ad campaigns because of their simplicity and also the amazing visuals that they represent in here. This represents some new color choices that go into the shoe.
It's being splashed with this new color and you get that vibe right off the bat. There's no words whatsoever on this. You know it's a Nike ad because it's the Nike shoe and then, of course, they got that swoosh in the lower left-hand corner. And I just think that Nike is one of the best companies at telling stories without ever using any phrasing at all. It's really well done. And, you know, good ads are like that. Good ads are usually simple and iconic, and they're representative of the brand whether they're fun or serious or whatever the mood is of the brand. And they're also able to tell that story without using very many words.
Look at any billboard as you're driving down the freeway. They know that you only have a fraction of time to see what they're selling so they want to make as big an impact on you as possible without distracting you from what you're doing on the road. Business cards, on the other hand, take a very different approach, and they should because they're a completely different thing. Take a look at these examples here. Here's a business card that's really slick and elegant. It uses kind of like a flipped contrast. So on the front it's got the brown main color with the white accent. On the back, the white main color with brown accent.
That keeps a consistency throughout the design, but also makes sure that the text on the back is readable, which is nice. The text, just very small, very clean, very easy, very minimalistic. This is one of my favorite business card designs that I'm going to show you because of, not only the logo. The logo's really well done. But, that big arrow in the middle is like a call to action, like, hey, here's who I am. Here's where you get in touch with me. And that's a really well played little thing that they use in there. I love that. Finally, this is also one of my favorites because it really shows the personality of this person.
And so, this guy, you know, he is a builder. Some sort of builder that builds buildings and things like that and, of course, those guys are always measuring stuff. And you've got here the measuring tape that goes down both sides of the business card. I think that is just really, really creative. It's clean, it's informative, it's got all the information well presented, well done. Business cards should always be clean, elegant, and above all legible. They should also be informative. People want and need business cards in order to gain valuable information about you or your business so don't make them have to hunt it down.
Business cards can and also should be unique. Nowadays with modern printing technologies, you aren't limited to just the standard old three and a half inch business card design. Think outside the box and come up with an idea that's all your own. Now, although digital publishing is all the rage today, brochures and printed materials are still commonplace throughout the world. Check out some of these examples that I found while doing research for this course. Here's one for a farmer's market, and I think this is really, really well done. It's got beautiful colors, and the typography is also really amazing.
It's informative. It's well laid out. It's organized. This is one of the best brochures in the whole lot. This second one here is kind of a portfolio piece for a creative agency. I think that the color choices here are bold, but very, very nice. And also, you can see that they've used a lot of different things and elements to showcase their design prowess as well as showcase their portfolio. I think that is also a good idea to do as well. And then finally, here is a great example of organization and distraction free reading.
So if you take a look at the front of this brochure here, it's very well done. They've got the white space and that big stripe that goes down the middle there that makes it easy for you to read what this brochure is all about. They've also got the logo down there prominently displayed. Inside, however, they keep the images on the fringe. All the text is organized right there in the middle in a very neat and concise way. And that's exactly what you need when you create a brochure. Brochures need to be extremely well organized and visually appealing. It's an informational document.
People need to want to read it, and they also need to be able to read it. Always create brochures with the end user in mind. That means doing your due diligence with your client and understanding their target audience before you begin the project. Also, I think that brochures should be easily read and also scannable at the same time. You want people to be comfortable whether they're settling in to read the whole document or simply skimming around trying to find one specific section of the layout. Alright, now we're on to my favorite piece in the design world, logos. Here's a really fun little logo for a company called Seed Sumo.
And so, of course he's got, you know, a little plant seed on his back, and it's a little sumo guy. It works really well. Well-played, typography looks good. Everything about this is clean, simple. It would be easily reproducible and repurposed on many different applications because I'm assuming it's vector artwork, so, again, a very well-done logo. This one right here, Meatlovers Gourmet Burgers. This is great because not only do you get the sense that, you know, it's love because of the heart, but it also looks like a hamburger in that form. I think that is a awesome little play that they have there.
And then finally, Dolly's Kitchen. They got the doughnut and the kitchen, the rolling pin, all that kind of stuff. This is a really well done. You can read everything. It's very clean, very simple. It'd be easily recognizable. I think that's good. Logos should be instantly recognizable, like I just said. People should take one look at it and go, oh yeah, that company. I know them. Think about Apple, Coca-Cola, BMW. When you see the logos of those companies, you instantly know the brand that they're attached to. Logos should also be easily repurposed, which means they should look good on a website, a business card or even a billboard.
Logos should also strive to be timeless and appropriate. And that's not easy to do if you're someone who constantly hops on every single design trend. Look at companies like Nike, that swoosh logo that they have, that's been around since 1971, and it's still as relevant today as it ever was. That's the kind of staying power that you should strive for when you're creating a logo. What makes a great design? Well, the real answer is a whole lot. But fortunately, now that you understand it, you'll almost always know it when you see it.
- Understanding the impact of color
- Sketching your ideas
- Removing unwanted objects from images
- Cropping photos
- Resizing and saving images for print
- Drawing basic shapes
- Creating a custom color theme with swatches
- Applying styles
- Creating tables
- Preflighting documents
- Packaging files for print
Skill Level Beginner
Q: This course was updated on 09/01/2016. What changed?
A: We revised the first four chapters with new graphics and examples.