5 Rules of Design

The line between good design and bad design can be crossed by simply using the wrong font. Design, just like any other profession out there, has rules to it, and breaking those rules can be the difference in getting a sale or losing a sale.

There is a long list of design rules that one should follow, but to keep things simple, I have outlined my top 5 rules of design that should never be broken.

  1. Design for your audience
    If you’re holding a kid-friendly event, for example, and you want to create a poster to advertise said event, always keep in mind who your target audience is: Parents with children. In this situation, you want to avoid any cursive font or sleek, modern designs. This is for kids! Design a poster for a children’s event. Below is an example:

8_Audience1-tb-662x0
Image provided by Canva

Take a look at the poster on the left. A quick glance and it wouldn’t immediately register to you that this is a poster for a children’s event, whereas the poster on the right has a more kid-friendly vibe. It’s important to think about your target audience and create designs that will resonate with that audience.

  1. Don’t use too many fonts in one design
    If you have 4 or 5 different fonts for a poster or flyer, it can come across as messy and unorganized, which is less likely to draw in any interested consumers. Most design experts recommend sticking to no more that 2-3 fonts in a single design. That said, be sure those fonts compliment each other.

11_FontPalette1-tb-662x0
Image provided by Canva

  1. White space is not always negative space
    When creating a poster or flyer, seeing too much white space can seem like a bad thing. It’s easy to think, “there should be more on this page, it looks too empty.” Don’t think of it this way! You can properly utilize white space in a design to your advantage. It can help create a sleek, less cluttered look if done right. A proper use of white space is pictured below.

15_White-Space1-tb-662x0Image provided by Canva

  1. Don’t use too many effects
    When it comes to design, sometimes keeping it simple is best. As a follow up from tip #3, keeping things simple can be more beneficial than overcrowding. Having too many graphic effects can muddle your content and distract readers from the message you’re trying to convey.

    20_TooManyEffects1-tb-662x0Image provided by Canva

  2. Avoid color clashing
    When you clash colors that don’t compliment each other, it can create a “vibrating” effect that makes it difficult for the reader to find the line between colors. To avoid color clashing, choose colors that have a high degree of contrast – it will create a clean, simple, and easily identified color line in your designs.

14_ColourDiscord1-tb-662x0Image provided by Canva


Mindy Lee
Advisor/Marketing Coordinator
Washburn University
America’s SBDC

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