As a public relations professional, there will come a time when you have to set aside the press releases and open up Adobe InDesign to create deliverables for clients. Whether you have studied design for years or your design skills are limited, you cannot forget that the most important parts of public relations design are the basic design principles.
Robin Williams, a visual designer, created the fun acronym C.R.A.P. to help designers remember the four basic design principles. These principles are contrast, repetition, alignment, and proximity. These four principles ensure what you design, whether it be a logo or an infographic, will be eye-catching and easy to follow.
The principle of contrast is the most important principle of design for it is what makes your design stand out to the audience. When using contrast, you need to think about all of the elements on your page. None of the elements of your design should be slightly similar, you either want them to be identical in shape, size or color, or they should be dramatically different. One easy way to spice up your design and add some contrast is to switch up the different typefaces.
The principle of repetition is used to add visual interest and keep the design consistent. When using repetition, you should be repeating some elements of the design throughout the entire piece. This principle helps tie the entire design together and is extremely useful when creating a multiple-page layout or different posts for the same campaign. Elements of the design that can be repeated tend to be the colors, typefaces or little design elements such as shapes or lines.
The principle of alignment is used to organize your design and make it easy for the audience to read the elements on the page. Using proper alignment in your design can help the design feel clean and easy on the eyes. It is important to make sure that the textual elements of your design are aligned to the same side. Each element on the page should be aligned with something else which creates a sense of unity throughout the piece. Good use of alignment is aligning the edges of graphic elements with the edges of the textual elements.
The fourth and final design principle is proximity which is similar to alignment, however, it focuses on grouping pieces of the design together. When creating a design for something like a business card or an infographic, you want to ensure that items that are related to one another are grouped. This principle helps organize the content of the page just by placing certain elements closer together. You want to make sure that the items are not just close together, but that they are strategically placed in a way that the audience's eyes can scan the design and understand the organization of the design.
Now that you know the basic principles of design, you can create a design for anything. It is important to remember the C.R.A.P. principles when designing to ensure that your deliverable is pleasing to the eye.