One of the most basic yet important aspects of a solid design has to do with this one word: contrast. We know “contrast” to mean something like “the difference between two or more things.” Contrast plays an incredible role in the composition of a pleasing and effective design. Let’s take a look at 3 areas where “Contrast is King”:
> *1. Contrast in size*
This seems like a pretty obvious statement, but think about this: If everything is basically the same, nothing is different. If nothing is different, then nothing will stand out. If nothing stands out, your design will not demand attention. If your design doesn’t demand attention, then your message will not be heard. If your message is not heard, you’ve missed the point of the design! Take a look at the layouts below. Which one catches your eye the most, and why? It’s because a contrast in size has been used. Don’t be afraid to go BIG with some element of your layout. Learn to use size contrast properly, and you will definitely “kick it up a notch.”
> *2. Contrast in background*
Perhaps one of the most “rookie” mistakes in graphic design is the failure to use the proper contrast between the design background and other elements on top of it such as text titles or copy. As a general rule, the most important element of your design is going to be the headline. A reader may be drawn to the design by some other element, but the headline is going to drive home the message you are trying to convey. With this in mind, it becomes very important that the title is clear and separated from the background using proper contrast. Look at the example below. Both designs use similar elements, but which one conveys the message best, and why? If your background image is complicated in structure (tree branches, rocks, etc.) it will become even more important that your headline and copy are given proper contrast. Again, check out the examples below. Which one is clearer? The answer is obvious because the best design has included an additional background element to help provide proper contrast.
> *3. Contrast in font*
While it’s easy for beginners to get carried away with font selections (we’ve all known that guy who made it a personal challenge to use every font in his collection on the church picnic flyer), using a couple of contrasting fonts in a design can really provide that needed edge to take your layout to the next level. Whether it’s a logo project or a brochure title, using proper contrast in font can make a huge difference. Take a look at the examples below. Which design seems more attractive, and why? One of the designs has used a nice size and font contrast in the title, giving it a much better appeal!
These are three very basic area where “contrast is king.” Start with these, and you will see your design skills immediately improve