A websites main function is to appeal to the attention of its viewer, encouraging further reading, membership or some form financial commitment. Graphic design can play a vital role in satisfying this intention, by making it more visually appealing and therefore easier to absorb.
The purpose of design is to facilitate the communication of a concept or idea to a target market of individuals. The design choices used to convey that message determine the success to how the message is received. As such, careful consideration should be made to certain visual elements of the layout and overall design.
When implementing a design, thought should be given to your choice of colours. Colours can invoke certain unconscious emotions within the viewer. Varying the use of different colours and tones can assist in influencing these emotions to persuade the viewer to fulfil the purpose of design. As an example, certain uses of reds can conjure feelings of irritability and impatience, however modifying the shade and accompanying colours, can generate feelings of vitality and ambition.
Another graphic design concern should be with the arrangement of how information is displayed on a page. Viewers naturally view a page starting from the top left corner, leading down to the bottom right. Deciding whether to deviate from the instinctive path can either lead to confusion and uncertainty or an appealing layout that is pleasing to the eye. While determining the page layout there are four main design principles to consider: balance, rhythm, emphasis and unity.
- Balance is the way that multiple elements are arranged to construct a harmonious visual composition, based on the sense of perception, weight and proportion.
- Rhythm refers to the flow of the page Illustrated by the illusion of pace and pattern formed by recurring text and graphics, using spacing and solid areas.
- Emphasis is created within a layout by determining which specific hierarchal elements will stand out and draw the eye and in which order, using size and weight for example.
- Unity assures that all the elements of the design create the feeling of wholeness and fitting together. This can be achieved through complimentary colours or incorporating similar styles for graphics and illustrations.
Using these elements within your layout will improve the overall sense of design. Different elements within the page will pull together to create a cohesive and visually pleasing arrangement. To assist the global impact, you can also add depth to your layout by playing with simple uses of light and tone and adding a sense of perspective.
Once you have given considered thought to your layout, you will need to populate your page with content. The use of text on a page can help to complete the perception of a finalised design.
When using fonts within your website, practicality often plays a larger role than design. The font types most often favoured in web design are sans-serif typefaces such as Ariel. In terms of readability, it is certainly recommended that sans-serif be used for the large volume of text. However experimenting with size, weight and leading (line height: distance between lines) etc. can have a large impact on design, while enabling the viewer to distinguish the hierarchy of information; this in turn produces a more visually appealing page.
The final design should blend together to form a complete unified package. While these considerations may come naturally to a professional designer, it can take time to experiment with different styles until you find a desirable composition. Taking the time to do so, or contracting a designer to help you will only have a positive impact on your website and business.
Michelle S Roberts, Design2Go
http://www.design2go.net - Affordable Graphic Design
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