Design and Visual Communications

There are so many rules in designs. Until I read White Space is Not Your Enemy, by Rebecca Hagen and Kim Golombisky, I didn’t realize how many rules and basic knowledge we need to master about designs. Although we don’t always need to follow the rules, the book makes a point in the very beginning that we need a good reason when breaking it. And we can only break the rules only when you know the rules.

All the rules that I learned in the chapters we read for this week were, I thought, basically about how to appeal to the audience you want to communicate. Last semester in Clio 1, we talked about who your audience will be and how to reach to those audience. And this week’s reading made me to think even deeper that not only I should think who the audience is but also how I want the audience to think or feel when they see the design. In other words, the rule to make a good design is to “control the eye’s movement” of the audience, and to create a flow in a website so that they won’t be lost and can easily find their way.

For instance, I didn’t know that there is a layout or structure when designing a poster, card, or website that makes it easier for the audience to see. And there are certain rules for a website where to locate the header or the logo or how to include the navigation button. And there are more to add when designing a website for tablet or for smartphone. (I also realized that the layout of the pages in this book was designed differently in an online version from a paper-based version.)

I also had never thought about speaking to audience such as colorblind visitors and that the rule to make accessible for a wider audience is to underline a hyperlink so that it makes easier to find the links.

Another important rule that I learned in designing was the step when planning. Even the professionals or the computer experts start out by first stepping away from the computer; they begin by researching, brainstorming ideas, or making a sitemap for a website. Then, I remembered when I went to talk with a professor or to a digital fellow student about a project for Clio 1, they all started out by drawing ideas on a sheet of paper.

All these rules seems almost overwhelming to me, and on top of that I need to learn programming in HTML. But design is one way to attract the audience and I can’t ignore how visual communication can impact the visitors to the website I will be creating for this class.

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