All designers have heard, at least once, that the design needs a “punch.” When we hear that, we twist like skillet steak on a pan because the tools and apps we have at hand are not enough to give it a “punch”; it requires knowledge and experience to communicate the message correctly.

Today we want to share a Little about this knowledge because just like we all have a primary care doctor, a lawyer, or a Know-It-All, we would recommend that we all have a primary care designer. Someone you could call, visit or consult every time you had a project or idea. However, as we doubt that will happen, we want to show you a design principle that will be very helpful and useful and one you can take advantage of.  

It is called design hierarchy. It is an essential principle, and we see it every day. Here is what it is and how it works:

Design hierarchy is the order in which we read information. It is so instinctive that we do not even realize it exists. That is why it is so important to know it because we can achieve people understand our message just as we want them to. A good design hierarchy means working with four essential tools: size, color, space, and contrast. If we balance them well, we will guide our audience to read what is most important and continue reading the message just as we want them to.

How can we use these tools?

1. Size: the more significant the element, the bigger its visual weight. It is very simple; we must give its place to the most important thing.

2. Color: usually, the brighter color has the most visual weight; we most harmonize the rest of the colors to contrast with what we want to emphasize.

3. Space: we are used to reading from left to right and from top to bottom; we always see the first element on the message; it is essential to order our information in that course. Also, we must consider the depth and add or not add shades to make an object closer to the viewer.

Finally, playing with blank space, the more blank space we use, the more attention the element surrounding it will get.

4. Contrast: we must play with the elements for them to contrast, and with that clear differentiation, we will achieve a suitable hierarchy of the elements. 

In the images above, we can appreciate each and every one of the tools. As you may have noticed and mentioned before, it is very instinctive, an essential principle of all.

We hope the explanation and examples shown were helpful for the next time you add a “punch” to a design.


Paola Floresmeyer


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