Reviewing our library, in recent days we have reread a graphic design book highly recommended not only for designers but for all those who at some point need to assess the quality and suitability of design, for your company, for example. These are the elements of the design. Timothy Samara’s Style Manual for Graphic Designers Instruction.
We have to say that we could not agree more with the starting point of this manual: twenty rules to create a good design. Obviously, the rules are there to be skipped, but even for that you need to know how to do it: you have to know them, you have to master them and, at certain times, be elusive with them.
But if you do not have time to read this wonderful complete book, or if you need a summary to help you better understand these twenty practices of Timothy Samara, here we bring them to you, summarized, commented, and with examples. It must be recognized that in some the author is more right than a saint.
1. “Have a concept.”
Designing without a concept is like trying to cross a desert without a compass: you will surely get lost. And if you get lost, nobody will find you, nobody will know what you want to say. Therefore, it is essential to be very clear about what you want to say and how you are going to do it, as in the following image, a poster about Father’s Day (as you will see, it does not take many elements if you are clear about what you want to say).
20 design rules – father’s day
2. “You have to communicate, not decorate.”
In communication, our aim should never be “make it look nice”. Let’s face it: we are not artists, nor do we claim to be. Our objective is not the graphic piece itself, but the response that we will obtain thanks to it from our target audience. This does not mean that it should not be aesthetically good, quite the contrary: we create objects of persuasion. In this sense, everything we put in a design must communicate, must have a reason for being. Do you want to put an ornament? Rather think of a way to signify and make a message more memorable.
3. “Speak in a single visual language.”
You have to be consistent, especially when it comes to corporate visual identity. All graphic piecesss should be like sisters: different, with their own personality, but with the same essence. That’s how brands are built visually, that’s how we make them memorable and recognizable.
4. “Use a maximum of two font families”.
To which we add “and use them to rank the information.” Typography can be a great help in communicating a message, or it can be a weapon of mass destruction, causing incomprehensible chaos and making it difficult to read. You can help with the color, size, and style of the letter.
5. “Hit in two times: one, two!”.
Let us be disappointed, they will spend a minute if we are lucky. It is not to get fine, but the human being is like this: cognitive resistance prevents us from looking at everything around us, and thank goodness because we would go crazy. But of course, this is a problem for the design world. Solution: guide the gaze of those who see you, highlight what really matters and learn to attract attention: number two is our goal, but if they don’t see one, they won’t pay attention to you and they will stay there.
6. “Choose colors with a purpose.”
Colors are for use, dare to do it, but with judgment. Use them, they are a very powerful weapon but be careful with them, they can turn against you. In the image that we show you below, you can see a publication in which each activity sector is identified with a color, facilitating its graphic representation and recognition.