Building Margin into Design

Yesterday, the pastor at LifePointe Church continued his sermon series Unloading Your Overloaded Life with a message about Building Margin into your life. It is so easy to fill your schedule with a bunch of to-dos, and forget to make time for yourself. But we have to intentionally build margin, a time of pause and reflection, into our life.

In the same way, we must intentionally build margin into design.

When designing anything from a website to a logo to a pamphlet, it is easy to get caught up in what to put in, and forget about what not to put into the design. The average person sees thousands of advertisements and publications in a day, and people start to pick and choose which ones they will spend some time reading or looking at.

If a design is text-heavy, or very busy with text or images, someone is likely to not read it or at least doesn’t enjoy reading it. If a design is getting close to this point, you should:

  1. Eliminate.
    Get rid of anything that is unnecessary. This is sometimes difficult to do, but keep the audience in mind when doing so. Remember that the design is not for you, it is for the audience.
  2. Minimize.
    If you really have to keep some text, see if a graphic can say it better. If not, see if you can cut the amount of text by at least half.
  3. Add Space.
    Distribute white space across the design. People often make things bigger, bolder, italicized, capitalized, or underlined to set them apart from other elements of a design. However, the more white space that a particular element is set apart by, the more it will stand out. Think about what you want to stand out.
  4. Hierarchy and Flow.
    So you’ve taken all the steps above, but there is nothing else you can do. Wrong. Again, look at what is important and what is less important, and build some hierarchy and natural flow into the design. If there is a lot to see, eyes like to be guided where to look first and where to look next.

Take these steps every time you review a design, and you are sure to increase your visibility and readability.

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