Layout design might be the phrase you’ve heard when talking to any graphic designer. It’s the core of most visuals, which all the beautiful cool things we saw on social media, banners and more, rely on. The target of every layout design is to convey the correct message to show its information in the most logical way possible. It also helps to make the vital message & elements pop and catch customer's attention. Layout and graphic design in general require a meticulous justification, along with a great sense of art. It’s all-around creating something beautiful, but beneficial to brands.
With a good layout design, audiences can get what the picture is all about without the need to read every word. If you want to achieve that, there is some reading needed before getting started. In today’s article, we’ll let you know everything you must know about layout design.
Before we get into the details, let's make sure you understand what a layout design is. Briefly, layout refers to the arrangement of visual elements on a grid to convey a specific message. If the layout is difficult to read, then the design is ineffective, no matter how great it looks. A layout design can determine the overall appearance and the connection among graphic elements to achieve a smooth message flow to maximize performance. In other words, it’s playing puzzle with graphic elements until you have a piece of art. But looking pretty is not enough, your design must be user-friendly, versatile, unique, and easy to understand. Of course, layout design is not a blind game, it has principles and guidelines to follow before it comes to the creative part. We’ll get to that soon, don’t worry!
With layout design, many different elements contribute to the stunning final results. Have you known any? Don’t worry, we’ve listed some of the most common rights below for you to begin with:
When it comes to text elements, there is a wide variety, mostly depends on the number of copy one want to place on visual. There are also different types of visuals that require a specific amount of text. You’ll have titles, headings, sub-headings, and paragraphs. Some simply need a tagline to go, some you must fit a 500-word paragraph into.
To give people’s eyes a break, you’ll need images. Images here could be photography, illustrations, or any visuals. Those are the key elements that help you communicate with customers without words. They’re particularly effective in most communication channels and are more than just great to evoke emotions. Images can enhance the text content and boost it to another level of engagement.
Lines, no matter long or short, could be used to divide sections. It’s also an effective way to emphasize the differences in content or images. There is a wide variation for thickness, length, and colors to use in layout design.
There is no layout lack of shapes of any kind. It’s a perfect touch of personality into the design and it allows us to be creative as much as we can. For some specific marketing materials, the choice of shape can be really bold and impressive.
We can’t always keep a design busy with typos and shapes all the time. That will be extremely confusing and overwhelming to look at. Instead, nice usage of white space will give you, well, more space for the eyes to relax. It also helps draw attention to a specific spot of your graphic design.
In graphic layouts, hierarchy is how you arrange the importance level of each element. Depends on your design space and intention, the hierarchy will be different. But overall, the largest element on your layout shall be the most important piece of information, and continue to the second and so on. This will help you decide which information you want users to see first, and what will leave the greatest impression on their minds. Not just size, designers can also use contrast to differentiate the importance of elements as well.
This is quite hard to tell, but basically, most of the things that are appealing to the human eye contain a sort of balance. That’s also the reason why your graphic design needs balance. A balanced layout requires either symmetry, asymmetry, or radial symmetry. Symmetrical and asymmetrical balance is the easiest to achieve and is also the most common. Meanwhile. radial symmetry is vital in prints, but also really hard to create on a website.
Of course, there are some exceptions when designers decided to think out of the usual. If done right, it would create a massive impact. But just with a little undone, it could easily be seen as messy or ineffective.
In graphic design, there are two types of alignment: Edge and center alignment. An effective choice of alignment will contribute to the flow of a layout design. You can try both on to see which works the best for your layout.
Edge alignment means you place elements to the top, bottom, left, or right edge of a layout. Left alignment is mostly used for text because we normally read text from left to right in most languages. Center alignment works best for smaller text sections, such as a title or images and icons.
Proximity means the connection between visual elements. It allows viewers to understand the context of your design and know which is related to one another. Relevant elements should be placed close together and vice versa to avoid confusion and misunderstanding.
We just can’t deny the importance of layout in graphic designs. It’s all about the basic arrangement on which creativity builds. A design cannot just look nice, it must be related to the brand’s images and messages. Once your starting point – which is the layout design, is not aligned with the brand, nothing will work out. In advertising, book covers design, and everything else, the layout is the spine and the core value. To create the best result, which is attracting customers, every design must have a good layout first. But to count it down, here are some of the most obvious benefits of having a great layout design:
In design, especially for advertising, the layout is the standard or default solution. The correct position and connection among elements are the only key lead to the success of a design. Therefore, it’s critical for graphic designers always to understand the layout when creating any visuals.
Once getting to know the world of design, there are many fascinating to learn. First, let’s have a look at some of the most common graphic layouts that we use all the time:
Mondrian Layout: a variation of images orientation such as square, landscape, and portrait to create a conceptual composition.
Circus Layout: Irregularly arrangement of elements that evoke creativity and great impression. Our personal favorite.
Silhouette Layout: Illustration wrap in text using photographic techniques. It’s cool to use in print ads, magazine covers, and social visuals.
Big-type Layout: This uses straight-forward the uniqueness of fonts to capture the audience’s attention. You can see this type of layout several times creative headlines for advertising.
Alphabet–Inspired Layout: The essence of this type of design is the arrangement of the letters in a systematic order. This layout is used to convey the correct impression or main idea in the advertisement.
There are some graphic design principles that you should follow. The alignment of elements in the design is the basic principle that defines your design. Also, use a simple font, and the images should be high resolution and large enough to grab the viewer's attention. Proximity is another important principle that makes your design one. Contrast is also important as it creates variety in the design. But with no further ado, let’s get to some of the most popular rules for layout design.
A useful technique for creating effective designs is to implement the rule of thirds. This rule is very simple but very effective in balancing a design. To implement it, simply divide your layout into three columns and rows. Lines provide guidelines for all linear elements in the design. The points where the lines intersect form the focal points of the design.
In the following examples, we can see the laptop freely following the left vertical and bottom horizontal lines in the photo on the left. The point where the center of the laptop meets the coffee cup in the center of the image. In the image to the right, the woman's body and laptop follow the guidelines of the 3x3 grid. Both images also make effective use of space to draw more attention to the main focal points.
Using a grid is extremely effective in most layouts since it helps you to be more balanced and organized. Designing with grids will allow you to make a better experience for viewers through the arrangement of content. Their many types of grid to use in design, but the simplest, yet most effective are column grid. It will divide your working space into sections, allows more precise control on the placement of each element. The space in between the columns is the gutter. Space can also surround the edges of a grid, creating margins.
Our go-to choice for the number of columns is 12. With this, you can easily divide 12 columns into various smaller sections to work on. And by doing this, you’ll allow more flexibility in the layout of a design.
As in all areas of design, there are no hard and fast rules with the grid. Subtly breaking down the grids gives the depth and diversity of the design. In web design, for example, you often see full-width-images filling the background of a section. Some designs also include images, illustrations, and other decorative elements that appear to randomly float around the edges of a design.
The key function of grids is to contain, align, and organize important content in a layout. Breaking the grid with decorative elements now and then is perfectly acceptable as long as it doesn't detract from the overall design.
Some designs don't just go off-grid; they completely ignore the grids. This, when done on purpose, creates an artistic effect. While this look is effective for certain contexts, such as an artist website or photo look-book, it is not recommended for most design projects. Here's an example of an eye-catching landing page that doesn't use a grid but still effectively communicates the design message.
For layout design, that’ll probably be everything you need to know. Whether you are a fresher with design or a business owner trying to experiment with something new, understanding the importance of visual layout is always useful. By knowing why it’s so crucial to design, you can create more effective designs that are appealing to customers. With advertising, product packaging design and so many more, having a good design layout means you’ve already achieved 50% of your goal. As above we’ve provided you more than just the vitality of design, but also some key elements or principles, it’s time for you to put that information into work. Keep in mind that graphic design is still art, and principle is just the spine for creativity to raise its voice.
Once you grasp these principles and able to design your own website, it's time to build it out. Before you proceed, you should have a ready-to-go Style Guide and Dev Notes so that you can pass it over to the development team. This is a crucial process to ensure you get exactly what you designed. The gap between the live website and the design is the experienced of the web developer between it. The more detail note you can provide, the better the outcome will be. We can give you our professional advice on your website design, let us know - it's free.