Top tips for non-designers


You can be a good designer even if you have never seen the inside of a design school. All that you need is a good eye for design. You should also understand the basic design rules. Here are top tips for non-designers:

1. No centred paragraphs: All text, barring headlines, should be left aligned. Sites that run centre aligned copy are difficult to read, and should be considered badly designed sites.

2. No decorative fonts in all caps: Only green horns would make the mistake of using a decorative font in capital letters. It is worse then reading paragraphs that are centre aligned. Simple non-serif fonts are the best for headlines as they are clear and add weight to the page.

3. White space: Clients tend to be allergic to white space on their web site. To them it is valuable space that has not been utilised. Learn to put your foot down. Every design needs some white space to breathe. In fact it provides visual relief and goes a long way in making your design readable.

4. Less is more: Don’t overdo the site with fonts and colors. This may create a busy look on the page, but it will serve no purpose. The biggest casualty will be readability. If you must have variations in fonts and colors, opt for the variants of the same family. It gives your design fluidity and synergy. 5. Don't box the page: Use boxes discretely. Don’t overdo it. Use boxes to emphasize important information, such as a sidebar or a pull quote; don’t use it as a random design unit.

6. Don’t use double spaces: You do not need two spaces after a period. That trend died with the typewriters. You only need to leave a single letter space after each punctuation mark.

7. Tie headlines to text: Tie the headline to the text that follows it. You may need to experiment a bit before arriving at the right space between the headline and the text. But once you do so, you will make the life of the reader easier.

8. Reverse text with care: White font on a black background works wonders as an attention grabbing technique. But use it with care. Can you imagine reading reams of white matter on an endlessly stretching black background? Your eyes would protest after a while. And, if you are going to use the reverse technique, make sure that the fonts are non-serif fonts. Delicate serif fonts tend to become hazy and break making it difficult to read.

9. Proofread: Proof read your content. Proofreading is different from spell checking. Spell checkers don’t take care of shoddy grammar and syntax errors. Try this trick: read your text backwards the next time. You’ll be surprised at the umber of errors that you manage to spot.


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