By Teddy Hunt
As a successful blogger, you’re probably acutely aware that the best bloggers are the best content creators. But even the most top-notch content needs a reliable platform to capture its readers’ attention and make it in the blogosphere. Alas, most people do in fact judge books by their cover.
Here are a few key design principles that’ll help persuade your readers to open the book and enjoy your content.
No matter what medium you’re working with, the fundamental elements of design are the same:
Surely there are differentiations between print and digital media, but generally speaking, these principles make up the backbone of successful design. Careful implementation of each of these principles will ensure a well-received finished product.
The design principle of hierarchy refers to the order in which information is processed by viewers. When it’s implemented effectively online, viewers can quickly scan a webpage to get an idea of what content they find interesting and what content they can disregard. When the hierarchy of a website is off, it seems jumbled; users are forced to look deeper into the site to find relevant content. When viewers can’t immediately recognize what they’re looking for, they’re more likely to click away. Subsequently, this trend will hurt your SEO rankings and cut down on the overall traffic to your site.
People generally follow a top-to-bottom, left-to-right eye path when they view websites; keep this in mind as you design your webpage.
Of course, contrast is the visible difference between elements. It can refer to color, texture, shape, style, and several other factors. A healthy dose of contrast can give a website the perfect mix of variety and interest. It’s helpful for drawing attention to specific aspects of your work. It can make certain design elements pop or fade into the background, depending on how you use them. Be mindful of your use of contrast as you critique your website and avoid having too much or too little differentiation in your color scheme.
Much like contrast, repetition can refer to a variety of elements, including shape, size, color, and texture. It adds a sense of regularity to a design, enhancing the overall flow of the page. As with any design element, too much texture can be jarring or –worse — predictable. You can utilize repetition with similarly shaped objects and fonts. The repeated designs don’t have to be identical either; sometimes illustrations with similar qualities will suffice.
Possibly one of the most versatile design principles, shape actually applies to every other principle evenly. That is, everything is a shape. When it’s applied to web design, it’s important to keep in mind the overall tone you’re striving for, creating shapes that go together with an equal balance of contrast and repetition as well.
Texture is the surface perception of shape. It can be rough, smooth, soft, hard, glossy, or matte. But it’s much more than that. When it’s used well, texture gives any design, on any platform, that “finished” look. It’s easier to describe texture in a three-dimensional design: the feel of a canvas through paint thickness or the surface of a sculpture through carving techniques.
In visual designs, such as websites, texture is suggested and not felt.
Web designers can achieve visual textures through simulating the visible attributes of real-life textures by implementing shading and shadows, as well as mimicking the coloring of real objects. Often it’s achieved through the repetition of lines, marks, and strategically placed spacing. Bring texture into your website’s design and you’ll up the “wow” factor instrumentally.
As you can see, there’s a very thin veil between web design and traditional design. While certain key changes have to be made to accommodate digital platforms, everything that’s important for traditional designers is also key for web designers. Every blogger should be aware of these principles and use them on their sites.
Do you have any tips or tricks for using these design principles on your blog? Please feel free to share with us in the comments.