What is Design?
Micha Commeren, a designer, said, ‘The function of design is to let design function’. Across all fields, designers who aim to solve problems or achieve a certain goal all follow one rule: form follows function.
What does that mean?
You’ve just bought a new dining table. It is designed with intricate carvings that imitate the Himalayan mountains and the surrounding landscape. This table is made from ebony and glossed over for a shiny finish. Each pattern and edge is intricately carved and balances on one singular leg that rotates.
It’s beautiful, but if you tried to put your food on it, you’d have a very uncomfortable dinner. The table has failed at being a table. If you bought a simple plastic table, you’d be able to eat your hot meal without any complications.
That’s what design is: creating for function.
For Anakle’s Creative Design Lead, Bariedora Yaakor, good design should be functional with good aesthetics. In his words, “If it looks good and doesn’t solve the problem, it’s not good design.”
Design in Marketing
In marketing, designers aim to improve a brand’s perception and visibility and ultimately boost commercial success with their work. Usually, designers work with a creative team, who develop ideas and strategies for them to work with. To learn more about how these ideas are formed, read our article on Ideation for Strategy.
A designer’s job is to present these ideas as visual designs in a way that matches the brand’s voice and convey the message that the brand is pushing to their audience
Principles of Design
There are a lot of factors that contribute to a successful visual design, but like Napoleon says in Animal Farm, some are more equal than others or more important. The fundamental design principles are balance, typography, contrast and unity.
Balance: Balance has to be the chef’s kiss of visual design. It is the arrangement of objects, colour, text, and negative space to distribute their visual ‘weight’ on the design. Designers can achieve balance in three ways: Symmetrically, asymmetrically, and radially.
Contrast: Contrast is distinction through difference. It controls the visual hierarchy of elements in a design. Designers can use shape, size, colour, and negative space to create contrast between elements.
Typography: Typography is important for emphasising text messages in the design. Script font could make the brand seem playful and easy. Serif fonts give the brand a more serious tone. Font weight, size, and colour help establish hierarchy.
Unity: Unity or harmony describes the cohesion between elements on a design. Harmony in design helps to clarify information being presented to the audience. Alignment, repetition and continuity are all very important in incorporating unity in designs.
Why are these fundamental principles so important? It’s because they allow designers to control the most crucial factor in marketing: perception or what the audience sees. Balancing out elements in the design helps the viewer to find the information being presented easily. Contrast highlights important elements. Typography sets the tone of the design and unity contributes to consistency and gets the message across better.
There’s still a whole lot more when it comes to design for marketing, and books have been written for each of these principles. However, if used correctly, these fundamental principles can greatly improve the brand’s messaging.
Are there any principles of design that you think is fundamental? Comment them below.
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