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I don't have a formal education in design, so have never been taught any industry secrets or methodologies of general design.

I am however a seasoned web & graphic designer, and usually end up doing a full re-brand or brand refresh for companies when I take on their website, as they often go hand in hand (If their website is out of date, their brand usually is too), along with creating new stationery and printed brochures, ads etc.

So my question is: Although I THINK I know the industry reasonably well, is there anything special that I would have been taught had I done a design degree (or similar), such as "golden rules" or industry secrets relating to printed ad/brochure design?

ETA: I am NOT looking for advice on the technical side, eg preparing files for press, software/hardware etc - what I am looking for is more on the design side, rules such as the rule of thirds in photography.

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But.. but... then they wouldn't be secrets! – Scott Apr 11 '13 at 16:21
hehe!!! indeed! (horatio obviously has something to hide...) – Digital Lightcraft Apr 11 '13 at 16:34
To be honest, I think this is a bit broad for a question. "What would I learn in design school I may not have learned on my own?" is a HUGE book of information. Since no one knows what you do or don't know.... every concevable topic is fair game, hence a book. – Scott Apr 11 '13 at 16:54
Maybe you could rephrase to question to something like "What are the basic principles every brochure must follow?" e.g. How to present/place the branding, focus on one vs multiple messages, length and size, thing like that. Just an idea. – Yisela Apr 11 '13 at 21:06
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Given that the OP identifies him- of herself as a seasoned designer, I actually don't think this is answer is open ended at all. The answer is "no, there are no secrets," only technical and useability restrictions, all of which you are familiar with.

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I see what you mean but life isnt that simple is it? for example I have been driving for many years, but found out about a law I didnt know about until last month. Theres always something new to learn. – Digital Lightcraft Apr 11 '13 at 14:27
I doubt you meant e.g. copyright law when you posted this question, and beyond that there really are no rules. GD is an art not a science; if you are lucky, you might create a little capital A art while doing it. – horatio Apr 11 '13 at 15:03

Older question.... but still....

I once had a client propose to pay me to create an outline of what does and does not make an effective design for direct mail sales pieces.

As I was simply exploring the idea and creating an outline of design oriented topics to cover, I quickly realized that what I had was a text book or manual.

I then started thinking of other areas of design and the same is very, very true. If creating advertising for something like a periodical (do people still use that word?) then there are almost an equal amount of different topics to consider based on demographics.

There are some simple rules such as: - Reverse type is harder to read - Older demographics require larger text - Smaller logos convey more professionalism - adding white space makes something feel more open and friendly

But beyond these basic, simple guidelines which most experienced designers would know, this topic would be very specific to the end goal of the design in addition to any demographic data for the audience. I don't really think there are specific "rules" or "secrets" as much as there are experience-taught methods for a specific project.

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