Graphic Design: who is doing it well and how?
Graphic design is one of the cornerstones of a good UX, but who’s doing it right?
This short list of graphic design tenets will make sure you avoid some of the most unforgivable mistakes and discover who your graphic design icons should be when trying to deliver a clean, crisp and engaging UX.
FOR FONT SAKE – TYPE
The digital revolution has given designers access to more fonts and typefaces than ever before, but that does not mean that you need to use as many as possible in each project.
Choose one family of fonts, or a small collection of three to four, one for headings, one for subheadings, one the main text body etc.
This prevents the user from being overwhelmed, and it is hard for the eye to scan across multiple sets of typeface. Keeping your fonts in check means your UX will look fly, and be more effective at delivering your message or product.
Take The Guardian’s news app for example. The serif font is unified, varying only in size, colour and boldness with a sans serif only for small details. The result is an easy to digest app with a strong brand identity.
ELEMENTS MIGHT NEED PERSONAL SPACE TOO
When it comes to layout, you need to think about not just where an element is placed, but how it is placed with regards to the other elements, it is no good to cram multiple elements into a small space if it makes them unusable.
For example, a piece of text and an image.
Simple stuff, but if having that image next to the text is going to cause the text to be bunched up, or reduce your font size, you might want to consider having that image below or even behind your text.
Keep your spacing consistent throughout the UX to give the product a polished feel and let your elements breathe.
The reverse can also be true, reducing the space between letters in a headline or title is a good way to increase the impact of the title, making it seem more dramatic.
ViaBet is an excellent example of giving elements space to breathe. Rather than crowded together – their home dashboard simply delivers all the information you need, and gives each element the space it deserves.
CONSIDER YOUR PALETTE
Colours. Colours. Colours. Your choice of colours can really make or break a UX. You could spend hours delving into the psychology of colours – but here we are just going to look at what colours work best from a design point of view.
Start with bringing together a colour palette, ideally one that is linked to or matches well with your brand.
Monochromatic palettes are shades and variations on one colour, if you have a strong identifying colour it might be wise to design your UX around this core concept.
Analogous combinations use colours that are directly next to each other on the famous 12 spoke colour wheel. Complementary palettes on the other hand focus on colours that are on opposite sides of the wheel.
Consider when finding your palette contrast pairing for your main text. This gives optimal readability by ensuring your text stands out from its background.
Facebook is great at this. White, grey and blue – you instantly know you’re looking at a Facebook app.
EMBRACE THE WHITESPACE
It might seem odd, but one of the most important aspects of design is the empty space, often termed white-space, between elements. This comes in the form of macro and micro space, between core elements and the smaller elements respectively.
White space is a core part of a good UX. In fact, research in 2004 showed that the proper inclusion of space around elements increased readability and comprehension by up to 20%.
White space is also great for drawing a user into a specific key element, or simply present a decluttered, easy UX. This goes further by forcing you to condense your contents to only what is needed, and prevents the user losing focus.
Think about Google’s homepage here. With the search bar and logo suspended in white space, and very little else on the page, its purpose is focused and therefore easy to use.
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