Graphic design plays an important role when it comes to presenting a business to its potential market. But what is Graphic Design and what does it involve? In short, graphic design refers to the process of communicating an idea or message visually. Graphic designers use various assets such as text, photos, illustrations, colours and typographies to create a unique and efficient way to communicate a piece of information.
During my career, I have seen very interesting business ideas and concepts. However, when a brand embarks on an advertising journey, they struggle to communicate their messages visually and in a clear way, resulting in poorly designed marketing materials which do not generate the results anticipated.
Example of a Bad Design
Here is an example, which in my opinion, represents bad design. For this post, I would like to redesign this poster that I saw at the gym last week.
The promotional poster below was found pinned on the advertising wall in a busy gym where the brand’s target market frequents daily.
I only realised what this poster was about after a friend brought my attention to the promotional offer and what a good deal it was. I had totally missed the poster and the message from this local Butcher’s advertisement. The butcher had chosen the perfect location for the ad, but the bad design meant the message was completely lost, it was not clear and concise for this fast-paced environment of the gym and had no call to action or contact information for the viewer to place an order.
At first, I found reading this ad difficult. Why? Because all the text has the same typography in the same size and fills up the whole poster, not helping the person to understand what the message is about. Good graphic design should aim to be simple, clear and easy for the viewer to digest.
Before I start to redesign this poster, it is important to mention the principles of good graphic design. These principles are the reference of any visual graphic project, as they create a methodology for creating the graphic design project. They convey information and ideas, emphasizing the message through organised design elements. It also embraces the main law of design, the KISS principle (Keep It Simple and Straightforward). You can find other lists online with different principles, some including 5-10 topics, but generally they represent the same idea.
The 5 principles of Good design
The alignment allows our eyes to flow through a message.
While redesigning the poster I decided to use center alignment.
The repetition refers to consistency, repeating elements of the design. This is extremely important in design as it allows parts of the design, such as patterns, to be different but still remaining part of the overall bigger picture.
Here you can see that I am using the orange circle as a graphic element to create a consistent unit for the design.
The contrast is effective in creating an emphasis on the message, for example when you use two opposites e.g big/small, thick/thin lines etc.
In this example, I used the typography, colour and size contrasts, emphasising the important part of the messages that we want to highlight to the reader.
The hierarchy creates a visual organization to a design providing an idea of where the message starts and ends.
While creating the poster, I used 3 typography styles, having different sizes and colours to create a nice flow to the message.
This refers to the weight distributed on the poster by the placement of the different elements. It provides visual stability to a composition which can be reached by different types of balance.
To create the poster I used various graphic elements to balance the layout on the poster canvas.
Good Example of the Result at the End
After applying the design principles to my redesign of the butcher’s advert, below is the end result.
My idea was to grab the attention of gym goers, with the promotional offer and the great deal not to be missed! Here the idea is clearer, and easily you can understand what the message is and what they do next if interested (Call to Action). To make the message clear, I split the message into categories to create a nice reading flow.
Lastly, I added essential information such as the phone number and address so the person knows how to contact the business.
Graphic Design Improves Messaging
It might be difficult to clearly communicate what you have to offer or the message you want to convey. But Graphic design is here to help businesses communicate their ideas effectively. A skilled graphic designer takes the time to fully understand your company, no matter how complicated it is which allows him/her to effectively communicate your services through graphs, logos, ads, social media posting, websites, and presentations using the design principles and elements.
Hopefully this simple case study gives you an understanding of the 5 principles of good graphic design and how they can be incorporated into your marketing materials, helping you to create visually impactful designs that conveys your message in a clear, concise way.