By Michelle Riedlinger
If I had one book to recommend on design, it would be Robin Williams’ Non-Designers Design Book.
Robin covers four essential design principles that are easy to remember with the mnemonic acronym, CRAP. This stands for contrast, repetition, alignment and proximity.
Contrast is an important visual technique because designers use it to highlight particularly important pieces of content and keep viewers engaged. Designers create contrast using colour, font changes, size, and spacing between elements.
The cover of one imprint of Stephen King’s book On Writing using contrast in font style, size and colour to highlight the author’s name and the title of the book. The stark contrast of black and white also draws the reader towards the book cover’s image.
Repetition. Designers also repeat design elements like colour, shapes, textures and font styles to help readers navigate documents and make sense of the how content fits together.
Adobe Stock provides sets of creative templates and themes, such as this set of document covers, that use repetition to give documents a sense of consistency and organisation.
Alignment holds the key to creating professional-looking documents. Designers place all content on the page with purpose. Econnect’s home page demonstrates how to use centre, left, right, top and column alignment for effect. A good way to check you’ve got good alignment is to turn the whole document upside down. Everything should line up. Nothing should look out of place.
Proximity. When content elements are placed together, viewers assume they’re related. Viewers try to make a coherent story from the grouped elements.
Viewers looking at the image below might relate groups of apples because of their colour. But in the two groups of apples on the right, viewers infer that these apples are related because of their proximity to each other.