Last week I wrote about my top 3 golden rules for professional, sharp looking layout design. Continuing on from this article, lets look at a further 3 rules I always have on my checklist when I am creatively directing or proofing design layout work in the Fresco studio.

4. Know Your Target Market and Audience

This rule is fundamental to understanding the creative tone your design piece needs to communicate, most if not all design should start out with a brief. One of the more important elements of brief creation is the question “Who am I designing for?” Every design has an intended audience so it is super important to always keep them in mind if you are going to create a powerful marketing design piece that has cuts through.

Remember that while your design may look good, it might not be the best possible communication for your audience, which is the primary goal of good design. When in doubt, always refer back to the brief.

5.  Avoid Widows and Orphans

Typographical widows and orphans are always a red flag in a design piece and can scream “unprofessional”. The odd few widows and orphans are bound to pop up in any type-based design you do, dealing with them and eliminating them is key to producing a polished finished design piece.

What exactly is a widow I hear you ask? A widow is a term for a line of text that belongs to a paragraph and has moved over to the next column. An orphan is similar, but a single word on its own on a line.

There are a few ways you can deal with these blights on an otherwise well designed piece. Soft returns (press shift + return) adjusting text boxes and or columns or readjusting words on a line by shifting words down a line wherever possible, this should all help eliminate widows.

6. Have a Logical Colour Palette

Colour is one of the most powerful tools for designers which is why it makes sense to get it right. When putting together a colour palette it is wise to know a bit about colour theory. Colour theory encompasses a multitude of definitions, concepts and design applications – enough to fill several encyclopedias. However, there are three basic categories of colour theory that are logical and useful : The colour wheel, colour harmony, and the context of how colours are used.

Be careful when experimenting with colour. Its one thing to be adventurous but stay true to your intent (and importantly your design brief) and make sure your choices don’t become too distracting or confuse your message.

I hope the above has been useful, stay tuned for next weeks guidelines and rules to help give your design pieces that professional edge.

Related Tag: Graphic Design Sydney