Monday, May 16, 2011

20 good design rules

In (almost) the year I have been working in Savannah, I have seen a lot of people come and go. One of the first major departures was a fellow designer, who was really great at illustration. I only worked with him for a few months, but he taught me a lot in those months. Namely not to be afraid of Illustrator.

After he left and someone else was hired in his stead, I took over his desk, and I decided to keep something he had tacked on the wall. It's a handwritten note listing "20 good design rules," and I find it inspirational. So, without further ado ...
  1. Have a concept
  2. Communicate, don't decorate
  3. Speak with one visual voice
  4. Use two typeface families -- maybe three
  5. Use the one-two punch
  6. Pick colors on purpose
  7. If you can do it with less, do it
  8. Negative space is magical -- create it, don't just fill it up
  9. Treat the type as an image
  10. Type is only type when it's friendly
  11. Be universal -- it's not about you
  12. Squish and separate -- create rhythmic contrast
  13. Concentrate areas of light and dark in separate places
  14. Be decisive -- do it on purpose
  15. Measure with your eyes
  16. Create your own images
  17. Ignore fashion
  18. Move it. Static = dull
  19. Look to history, but don't copy
  20. Symmetry is the ultimate evil
At the very end of the note, in bolder letters, he advises me to "now try and break them." So that's what I suggest to everyone out there.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Hey! I thought I forgot something when I left the news! :-) I'm glad the list has been inspirational to you, Lyndsey. Here's the book I got it from: "Design Elements: A Graphic Style manual" by Timothy Samara. I hope everything is still going well for you. You're a very talented designer. Hang in there ...

    P.S. You should try WordPress for your blog.