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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Make your flier easier to read

This fundamental design principle will invigorate your pages.

A trip to the Renaissance Faire: It’s an experience that is rife with flavor and imagination. But it’s also an event whose promotion might plunge an unimaginative designer into the land of trite. So it’s important to consider your design carefully.

Imagine that for the flier design, you have the fair’s logo and a folder full of engravings. With art this cool, you know that your flier will be spectacular.

At least that’s what you think. You try one layout idea, then another. You try again. It seems that no matter what you do, the results are basically the same: boring. Even though you’re using beautiful art, your layout has no movement. It’s static. What’s the problem?

Chances are you’re not using the design tools of scale and weight to your advantage. With these powerful devices, you can lead the reader from one element to the next and the next in the sequence you want. Proper use of scale and weight will not only improve your design; it will make your flier easier to read. Let’s see how that works.

1 Pick one element to be dominant...

...and make it large and/or heavy. Remember, dominance depends on both scale and weight. Something large can actually recede because it has very little weight.

Why a dominant element?

Varying the size and weight of the graphics is how the designer guides the reader around the layout. When the eye scans the page, it sees the biggest or heaviest item first. It then travels to the next-largest element and continues viewing by scale until it has examined the entire page.

The savvy designer will use this to his advantage; he will manipulate the size of the graphics to steer the reader in the desired direction.

In this example, it was determined that the minstrel engraving would be dominant. Note how the remaining elements are scaled to move the eye around the page.

Scale the Remaining Elements...

...so they appear smaller and/or lighter than the dominant one. In most cases, you’ll want to create a descending order of scale—something is large, another is mid-sized, another is small. The reader’s eye will generally move from one to the next in the order you scale them.

2 Create type contrasts

Use size, weight, or both to create contrasts among headline, text and caption copy. For the headline, bold Compacta was chosen for its very high contrast with the dainty, serif text (Cochin). Its size was then reduced, however, so it would not dominate—or compete for dominance with—the minstrel graphic. For the same reason, a heavy sans serif was chosen for the caption.

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