Designing communication

Great design requires a lot of information, thought and planning. Graphic designers make choices in a layout that will benefit and emphasize your intended message. The more information you can provide, the better informed their decisions.

Design is communication, and your designer is your interpreter. Here are some of the guiding principles used to shape your visual message.

Balance and proportion

The human brain craves symmetry. An orderly arrangement of items makes them easier to understand, remember and recall. In design, when everything is working together to deliver a message, the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts. Individual elements are proportioned and harmonized to create a balanced layout that speaks clearly to the viewer.

If an item is added to the layout late in the game, your designer might suggest adjusting other components of the layout for the sake of balance.


It’s important to allow elements in a layout room to breathe. A design that is jam-packed with text and visual elements is difficult to process mentally, and some viewers may simply not bother.

Your designer may mention the importance of preserving “white space.” This negative space reduces clutter and allows the brain to process elements more efficiently.


Designers also consider how the viewer’s eye will move across the layout. Beyond simply being eye-catching, good design will guide the eye organically through all the necessary information, with special focus on the call-to-action.

Your designer will likely consider movement to help emphasize primary, secondary and tertiary messages.

Contrast and emphasis

Contrast comes from juxtaposing different elements. Contrast adds visual interest to the page and can be used to emphasize messaging. Too much contrast will result in competing elements and the viewer won’t know where to look. Again, it goes back to balance and proportion.

If your layout has multiple points to communicate, your designer might use contrast to create a hierarchy of visual importance. Our team used contrast in design to great effect when we worked with Marvolus Manufacturing to develop their new brand segment.


It’s usually best to communicate simply and concisely. One layout can’t hold all the information about your company. A graphic designer can help you figure out what needs to be included to convey this specific message, intrigue the viewer and lead them to the next step.

Your designer might suggest paring down copy and reducing elements to keep your layout and message focused.

Copy and Lorem Ipsum

It can be tempting to dive right into design, even before the copy has been finalized. In these instances Lorem Ipsum, placeholder copy, can be used. However, designing around placeholder copy diminishes the value of the design, as well as the potential connection. Without the basis of meaningful copy, design is more decoration than significant communication.

Figure out what you want to say before you try to say it. Work with your designer to establish a theme, tone and, whenever possible, finalized copy.

When you work with a graphic designer, give as much information as possible. Excellent input enables excellent output. Communicate your visual and editorial standards, as well as the goals of your tactic and overall campaign. And, be sure to ask about the choices your designer made for your layout.

If you have any questions for our designers, feel free to contact us.