NHS Designs

opposition or dissimilarity of things that are compared

Design Principles

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Page 8: Newspaper Ad

Contrast, of course, is rarely the only concept that needs to be emphasized, but you'll often find that if you add contrast, the other concepts seem to fall into place. Your elements of contrast, for instance, can sometimes be used as elements of repetition.



This ad ran in the local newspaper. Besides the centered alignment, lack of proximity and repetition, and dull typeface, this ad seriously lacks contrast. There is nothing in the design that makes a person want to actually read it. The puppy's face is cute, but that's about it.

Well, there is a little bit of contrast and repetition going on (can you point them out?, but it's wimpy. This designer is trying, but she's much too timid.

I'm sure you've seen (or created) lots of pieces like this. It's okay. Now you know better.

(Notice that the adorable puppy is looking away from the name of the store. A reader's eye always follows the eye of anything on the page, so make sure those eyes lead the reader to the focus of the piece.)


Although the ad below looks like a radical leap from the one above, it is actually just a methodical application of the four basic principles.



Okay, these are the steps to go through to take the first ad and start making it into something like the second ad.

  • Let go of Times Roman and Arial/Helvetica. Just eliminate them from your font choices. Trust me. (Please let go of Sand as well.)
  • Let go of a centered alignment. I know it's hard to do, but you must do it for now. Later, you can experiment with it again.
  • Find the most interesting or most important item on the page, and emphasize it! In this case, the most interesting is the dog's face and the most important is the name of the store. Keep the most important things together so a reader doesn't lose the focus.
  • Group the information into logical groups. Use space to set items apart or to connect them.
  • Find elements you can repeat (including any elements of contrast).
  • And most important, add contrast. Above you see a contrast in the black versus white, the blue logo color, the gray type, typeface sizes, and typeface choices.

Work through each concept one at a time. I guarantee you'll be amazed at what you can create.



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Source: The Non-Designer's Design Book by Robin Williams

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