Join John McWade for an in-depth discussion in this video Have a focal point and think boldly, part of Learning Graphic Design: Layouts.
- Always give your layout a focal point. This is going to be its anchor. The focal point is generally the biggest, the boldest and the brightest image on the page. It's the one you see first, and then kind of relate everything else to. If you look at a page and there's not an obvious thing that your eye jumps to, you need to add one. Always think boldly. The biggest difference between the beginner and the experienced designer is that the experienced designer makes bolder moves. The beginner will tend to even everything out, kind of make everything the same. By bold I mean this.
If you have a big object, make if very big. I'll always start by putting something on the page and making it very big, and see what that says. Or very small, and see what that says. Make something very dark, like black, in contrast to something very light. And by light I mean barely there. Put something way over here, or way over there.
Make a thing very wide, or very narrow. You're not always gonna end up with these things, but if you try them you'll see a dynamic immediately. It'll get you going. This applies to type too. Bold type, make it very bold. Same with light type. Make it very light. This, is better than this. Much more dynamic. For text, you want medium weight, but even there, for accent you can make a small block of text very bold, or very light.
Try making your text very big, or very small. Place it dead center, or obviously to the side. All the way to the top, or at the bottom. Type can also be made very big, look at this. That'll get your attention. Now what you can do is overlay a small block of white type. This is what I mean by bold moves. Very big, very small, very dark, very light.
There's a lot of energy here. Plus the visual interest of color contrast, that's the black and white, as well as a texture contrast. And it's too small on this screen, but you're gonna read that type. This is simple design. There's only two things here, a block of text and a big boom. But it's a layout that'll stop you, and you'll remember it.
John also provides two start-to-finish projects, which show how these design principles play out in real-world layouts.
- Keeping the layout simple
- Handling images
- Adjusting page margins
- Using a grid for design