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Graphic Design/Web Design

Layout Basics

Typically, you are given a collection of information.

Your job is:
A. Interpret and understand the informationB. Use your layout skills to communicate the information to the readers.A. First, read the information carefully. Try to imagine you are a member of the target audience. Can you make sense of it? You may need to talk with the client or writer to clarify the meaning of the information. You are often given information from outside your field of knowledge and you will need a quick tutorial. Don't hesitate to ask plenty of "dumb" questions.Establish the Hierarchy of information-what to Emphasize!What is most important? The name of a product, a catchy headline, the title of an event?What is the next most important? A subhead which modifies the headline or product or title? Maybe it is the date and time or the location. Are there details and explainations to be displayed as text or in "the fine print"?Every project will have its own hierarchy. This is a good question for the client, who should know what the audience needs to know.

B. Organize the information to fit the hierarchy. Use the qualities of type to create emphasis and mood. Some of the tools you can use are:

  • Type face design-the personality of the type
  • Size
  • Boldness or weight
  • Variations-Italic, roman, outlined
  • Position on the page
  • Color
  • Optical illusion-3D effects or shadows
  • Unusual spacing, leading, setting on a curved path
You can use these variations to control the reader's experience with the layout.Start creating pencil drawn thumbnail layouts. Quick, loosely drawn thumbnail (small, the size of your thumb) layouts are the best way to experiment with arrangements of the elements in your project. Work quickly and do lots of "thumbs". You may need to study the Principles of Design to help with your layout skills-try our sites A, B or the Mundi Design site.Pick your favorite thumbnail and refine it into a "rough" layout. A "rough" is usually larger and you take more care in drawing details, such as type serifs and photo details. It is still pretty loose.Then, proceed to the computer to begin the real layout. If you follow your pencil layouts, you will avoid hours of fiddling on the computer. You just need to create what you have planned on paper.


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