19 Dec Graphic Design: Making sure your message isn’t lost
Have you ever watched an ad on TV that was so busy and all over the place that you turned to your couch-mate and said: “What was that ad even for?”
Or maybe you’ve gotten a flyer in the mail with so many different call-outs and fonts and pictures that you’ve almost screamed: “What is the point of this ad?”
Each graphic design project has one goal – to convey a message. And when the message is not conveyed, it’s painfully obvious.
How can you ensure that your next project doesn’t have your audience yelling “What’s the point!?”
By thinking like a gardener.
Let’s Plant a Garden
Imagine you’ve set aside a small bit of space in your yard for a rose garden. So, you plant a bunch of beautiful roses.
But when you’re at the gardening store, you see other flowers that are beautiful too. You come home and plant some sunflowers, daisies, and carnations.
After seeing an ad for salad dressing, you decide to plant some carrots, lettuce, and spinach. Then, you figure there’s nothing as majestic as an oak tree, so you plant one of those too.
What’s going to happen? Nothing.
Your Message Needs Space To Grow
All the things you’ve planted are going to compete for the small amount of nutrients. Since you overplanted, there’s no room for anything to grow.
The reason for planting in the first place, a rose garden, was completely lost.
It’s the exact same when it comes to a graphic design project.
Whether it’s a website, a logo, a brochure, or anything else, it’s just like the garden. You have a limited amount of space to work with, and if you put too much in the space, your message will be choked out and die.
None of these things that you planted were weeds! Everything that was planted was a good thing, but by planting too much – nothing can grow.
We see it time and time again, someone begins with a strong message, but can’t resist adding every bell and whistle until their message dies.
Good Graphic Design Starts With the Message
When embarking on a graphic design project your first, and most important job, is to decide what your message is.
Are you launching a new business? Are you moving locations? Do you have a special discount on for this week only?
Whatever your message is, you need to write it down and let everyone involved in the project know and understand it.
Can’t decide what your message should be? Find a designer who can expertly help you figure it out (hint – here’s one).
Everything Serves the Message
Author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry said that “Perfection is achieved when there is nothing left to take away.” And that should be your goal when deciding what to add to your design.
Everything in your graphic design project needs to be essential.
There’s limited space, and there’s very limited attention, and if what you’ve added isn’t helping your message, it’s hurting it. If what you’re adding won’t serve and enhance the message, then it will only compete with it.
When adding elements to a design, be they functional plug-ins on a website or graphics on a brochure, you want them to be things that direct attention towards your message.
This doesn’t mean that your design needs to be dull and boring. By being creative and intentional, you can create something that looks amazing and further supports your message.
The reason you launch a graphic design project is to create something that will convey your message. Don’t let your message get lost in the noise of a busy or unfocused design. Plan in advance, and ensure that everything in your design serves and supports your message.