Making your own layouts for your marketing materials may seem overwhelming at first. But if you learn five basic graphic design rules, you are well on your way to designing your own marketing pieces. These rules are balance, proportion, sequence, emphasis and unity. Here is an explanation of each of these rules.
To make your own layout, the first rule you need to learn is balance. There are only two kinds: symmetrical and asymmetrical.
Symmetrical balance is easier to work with and it is ordered, simple and formal. If you use symmetrical balance, your layout will have a mirror image - left to right or top to bottom (or both). Symmetrical balance gives you a basic structure for unity (unity is explained later), and is hard to mess up. The most obvious example of a symmetrically balanced layout is an invitation where each line of type is centered.
Asymmetrical balance is complex and informal and brings “movement" to a page. It is also harder to use. To use asymmetrical balance well, you need to know more about graphic design rules.
When you are making your own layouts, the second rule you need to learn is proportion.
Proportion compares related parts of your layout, like blocks of text or graphics. It looks at how one part's color, size, shape or weight relates to the same characteristics of another part. For example, if one line of type is darker than another, the difference in proportion (weight) shows which line of type is more important.
To make your own layout effective, the third graphic design rule you must learn is sequence.
Sequence is the visual direction of the information in your marketing piece. Sequence is usually left to right and top to bottom. The typical sequence for a printed piece is:
- The headline
- A subhead
- The main message
- A tagline (in the case of flyers or advertisements)
Like proportion, you can use sequence to show the relative importance of an element in your layout. The important parts of your marketing message are usually positioned above and to the left of less important parts.
In your own layouts, one - and only one - element should dominate. Emphasis is the rule that applies here.
If you want to grab attention with a graphic, then make that graphic stand out. If you don't want anyone to miss your headline, make sure it's big and bold. If you try to emphasize everything, you emphasize nothing.
When you are designing your own layouts, unity is the rule that ensures that your headlines, text areas and graphics are in harmony.
To download my free ebook that shows these five rules put into practice designing a flyer, click here: http://www.yeow-to-wow.com
Brenda Lewis is a veteran graphic designer who has conducted graphic design workshops for both local and national audiences.