3 Basic Elements of Great Design

Although they seem simple and straightforward, the basics principles of good design are really important and often overlooked. When sharing your organization’s story through your marketing materials, it’s these basic guidelines of design that ensure your message comes across clearly. With clarity, you can engage. And when you engage your audience, you meet your goals.

These are some basic principles of good design to be mindful of when working with your designer or internal team.

  1. White space or open space on the page is one of the simplest, yet most essential elements of good design. It prevents your reader’s eyes from being overloaded and allows them to be drawn into the most important information on the page. Take a look at the example on the left where everything is very tight and packed onto the page. Isn’t it hard for your eyes to find a place to focus? Now move over to the example on the right. The space is more open and there is more room for your eyes to scan the page and find a point of focus. Does it feel less cluttered and easier to take in?


  1. Typography captures your readers’ attention and draws their eyes in. It also needs to convey information clearly. Be careful with decorative fonts; use them in moderation. Even though decorative fonts can add some visual interest to your piece, you don’t want things to get busy, messy, or hard to read.
  1. Color can attract attention and has an effect on people’s moods. It’s a very persuasive tool and should be used purposefully and carefully. Usually, your organization will be using its brand colors. But sometimes, an outside color can enhance a design. Just be sure that the colors being used compliment your brand colors and reflect the mood and personality of your organization.

When it comes to white space, color and typography, remember that you shouldn’t be starting from scratch every time. Your colors and typography in particular should stem from your brand guidelines so that everything you produce looks consistent.

The purpose of good design is not just to look good, but to help you do good! I’d love to help your organization design a difference with clear and engaging design.