Questions about conventions of graphic design. Sometimes theoretical, sometimes tangible, sometimes metaphysical.

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31
votes
5answers
3k views

How often is the Golden Ratio actually used in modern design?

The Golden Ratio is the stuff of legend (and I believe some derision if Pepsi's latest logo change is of any indication) and is purported to have been used in many famous projects. My question is ...
29
votes
4answers
2k views

What technical/objective qualities do good logos have?

What objective (that is, not aesthetic) qualities should (almost) every logo have, that should you take into account when designing a logo or ask for when hiring someone to create a logo for you and ...
24
votes
4answers
486 views

Should in-house clients receive native files to make their own changes?

I am the in-house designer for a company that employs 8 marketing managers. These marketing managers are the ones that supply me with the lion-share of my projects. However, more and more, the ...
18
votes
8answers
1k views

What are common mistakes that you see in “professional” designs? [closed]

This might be too subjective but I'm curious about other peoples' experiences. Mods, please close if this is too far into "not a real question" territory. I see many questions on this site about ...
18
votes
4answers
731 views

How to direct users eyes on a website

There is a common principle in photography that a photo should lead the viewer's eyes. This is frequently accomplished with a line that runs across the photo. Recognizing how the observer will scan ...
17
votes
4answers
1k views

How or why do your eyes move away from a focal point to other elements?

In studying composition, we're told to pull the viewer's eyes into the frame using a strong focal point, and then lead his/her eyes into moving around inside the frame and hold his interest inside the ...
16
votes
3answers
1k views

Why all the hate? --Two spaces after the period

The nuns enforced it with a ruler: two spaces after a period at the end of a sentence. I, along with many others do this instinctively. Why is this considered incorrect/improper in printed materials ...
14
votes
4answers
3k views

Why do newspapers use multiple columns?

This might not be the right place to ask, but I was wondering why newspapers use multiple columns? Does it take up less space, or is there a visual reason?
13
votes
5answers
3k views

How would I know how good of a designer I am?

To me my designs looks good, at least for some months. But to others not so much. I want to go freelancing but I don't want to be a bad designer. So how do I find out if my logo/website/business ...
12
votes
1answer
696 views

How can a design be balanced and yet have a focal point?

The concept of a focal point seems to be a fundamental one in web design, yet doesn't a focal point mean a page cannot be balanced? Surely by definition a focal point means that the page's 'weight' ...
12
votes
5answers
454 views

How to reinforce intuitive design decisions?

I am not a professional designer, meaning: I have not studied Graphic Design at university or similar. I wanted to, but the numerous clauses didn't allow it. On the other hand, I'm actually doing ...
11
votes
7answers
2k views

How to balance dignity with a calculated risk of offensiveness / tastelessness?

When designing an advertisement campaign how should one balance dignity and respect for offensiveness? Nobody remembers the latest ad for McDonald's or Foldger's but I can tell you all about the ...
11
votes
6answers
1k views

Making a business card. Any advice?

I went around the web, reading articles about business card mistakes, and here is a full list of them: Don't use cheap materials/techniques or attempt to print your own. Don't use metal business ...
11
votes
3answers
1k views

How to draw attention to a specific area of a design?

What are the best practices for drawing attention to specific parts of a design?
10
votes
3answers
3k views

How do I figure out the right size font / text for a given read distance?

To avoid printing single letters at varying sizes and measuring how far away I can see it from a distance is there a formula for determining what size font for a particular read distance? Is it better ...
9
votes
2answers
682 views

What are some common mistakes that a designer can make when designing for web, and how can they be avoided?

What are some common mistakes to avoid while designing? I know color, text and images play a major part in designing, but there are so many other things that we need to take care of! I don't know ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

How could I show hands that are race neutral?

I'm creating a graphic with a hand holding a phone, but I don't want to show any hand of race(black/white). I've seen once google use a a non-realistic hand and gray-scaling a hand looks even more ...
9
votes
1answer
313 views

What is the purpose of always locating/starting new chapters on odd pages?

I notice that in every book I have always start a new chapter in an odd page and it leads me to wonder why. I have some written work that's about 40 pages long and 7 chapters; should I follow that ...
8
votes
4answers
499 views

What are good general typeface principles based on target audience age?

Everyone knows that as people get older their vision deteriorates. At 20 years old, few have trouble seeing and reading 8 or 9pt type in print or 10-11px type on the web. However, the older an ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

Is there a trend away from left aligned web site designs?

Most web sites that I see are centered, and I'm wondering if there's some sort of unwritten (or written) trend away or against left aligned sites?
8
votes
3answers
427 views

Seeking advice to improve the design of my minimalist calculator

A while ago, I built a count down timer app based on a designer's free giveaway. It turns out users like it and it is even mentioned on beautifulpixels. This time I'm building a calculator named ...
8
votes
1answer
662 views

How important is the visual flow of an interface?

I recently had a conversation with a friend about the design of an installer application. I pointed out that its visual flow was confusing. It led my eyes from the left to the right and then up to the ...
8
votes
3answers
221 views

Have there been any attempts to improve the design of spreadsheets?

Are there notable attempts to redesign the spreadsheet, as a number-heavy GUI which requires hours of painful concentration? As of today, the mainstream spreadsheet applications still use the same ...
8
votes
1answer
80 views

What benefit does proper balance add to a design?

Given multiple designs with the same elements, how does the balance of elements help a design to make it more favorable / effective than the others?
7
votes
9answers
2k views

What are the key principles that effective designs share?

You have arrived on this page because you are clearly curious about underlying fundamentals that you can incorporate into your thought process when designing. According to many that came before us, ...
7
votes
2answers
461 views

How Should One Modulate White Space?

How should one modulate white space within an image, poster, or a logo? Some people say that there should be a certain amount of white space available within an image to make it appealing, while ...
6
votes
4answers
2k views

What makes a design professional?

Can anyone define why something might not look "professional"? What differentiates between professional/unprofessional designs? I have clients who have said my design does not look very ...
6
votes
3answers
37k views

Can you convert a neon RGB color to CMYK for printing?

I have a logo that was done with RGB colors, now I have to work with this logo to do something for printing purpuses, the problem is that in the RGB version of the logo I have a shade of green I ...
6
votes
4answers
2k views

What are the traditional rules for drop shadow direction / light source?

When creating a drop shadow for objects, what is the traditional / classic "rule" for the offset direction? I see so many that are down and right, which results in the light source coming from the top ...
6
votes
1answer
260 views

White and black design style

Recently I noticed a trend in graphic and industrial design that focuses on (usually predominant) white or very light gray and high contrast black or dark gray shapes — which fascinates me because of ...
6
votes
2answers
401 views

Studies about people's reactions to fonts and color schemes?

I'm a pianist, composer, and teacher, and I'm building a website to promote myself. I want the site to convey both a sense of elegance and old-world discipline, but also sleek modernity. I was going ...
6
votes
4answers
606 views

Making an Effective Menu

I am making a menu for an indie game and I'm not quite satisfied with my results. The menu itself needs two text fields (one to enter your username and the other for your password) and two buttons. ...
6
votes
1answer
375 views

How can graphic design be more accessible for people with disabilities?

I've noticed that, when talking about accessibility, guidelines and articles often refer to web design, but only in rare occasions I've seen graphic design (print in particular) being targeted as ...
5
votes
2answers
434 views

What should be taken into consideration when designing a logo?

This is my first try designing a logo. Firstly, I do not like the geometry, it seems like it's out of shape a little bit. Also, whenever I try to scale, everything just collapses. Can anybody inspect ...
5
votes
3answers
564 views

Is there a short authoritative reference of basic design rules and principles?

As a web developer, I often find myself working with different non-professional self-called designers. In such situations, I often have to explain them the most basic rules and principles about the ...
5
votes
3answers
466 views

Is there something like smashing magazine.com for the Print Industry?

I know the print industry isn't probably changing as much as the web stuff nowadays but Im just wondering were do print graphic designers get their inspiration, latest news and that kind of stuff. ...
5
votes
2answers
159 views

What factors make a campaign go viral?

I've been tasked with designing a viral campaign with limited budget. I've not worked on such things before, so I don't really have any idea on how to handle this task. What exactly makes a campaign ...
5
votes
2answers
18k views

Adobe Illustrator vs Adobe Indesign for brochures

You may know me (not that I am worth knowing) from my first question. I am a noob in web design, graphic desgin, font theroy, color theory, guess all of the mixes that are crucial. My expertise ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

How do you call “Charte Graphique” in English?

This is not really a translation question - more of a designer vocabulary. How do you call the set of visuals, logos, designs, colors, fonts... that make a whole design project? In French we would ...
5
votes
2answers
576 views

What does an artist who wants to learn graphic design need to know?

There's a (very popular) question that discusses tips and resources for learning graphic design already, but it's from the perspective of programmers who want to get in the game. I have a friend of ...
5
votes
2answers
321 views

Infographics smoothing and shadows : background or ressources ?

i'd like to know if there are resources or background knowledge on the new tendency to smooth the lines/outlines and add gradients and shadows to information graphics. For example, on the new version ...
5
votes
4answers
209 views

How to make clickable areas stand out?

I'm working on a calendar app that lets you toggle your vacation days. There's a feature for choosing which of those days count only half. Usage: The user toggles some days, those days turn orange. ...
5
votes
1answer
415 views

What should graphic designers consider when designing tattoos?

I searched the site but couldn't find anything relating to tattoo design, I believe it's a relevant GD form and would like to cover some of the basics here. What are necessary considerations a ...
5
votes
3answers
320 views

What are the web application design standards for for mobile phones?

When designing a UI for a mobile web application (non native) that is expected to run on iPhone, Android and possibly more platforms, what should be the baseline? Would you design it based on iPhone ...
5
votes
4answers
622 views

Designing and prototyping for iPad

I have to do some prototyping for an iPad app, and just realized why I was having so much trouble: this is an iPad app. I am used to design website pages/templates, computer interfaces, etc.. I have ...
5
votes
1answer
75 views

Explaining your design choices: how can we both argue for “being consistent” and the opposite; “I spiced it up” (I e I was inconsistent)

I've chosen to use circles as a graphic element because they relate beautifully to the geometric form of Century Gothic. That could be a justification for a design choice, and it would make ...
5
votes
1answer
88 views

Icon design etymology?

Is anyone aware of any resources for Icon design etymology, or the history of icon design? I'm talking about icons like Wi-Fi/Ethernet/Bluetooth status indicators, add, save, and similar simple images ...
4
votes
3answers
727 views

Need help with logo design and its transparency

I have given money to a company to design a logo. The designer will be using Corel Draw, and he was saying that he will give me the cdr file. Now I am confused about how many files he should give me. ...
4
votes
6answers
10k views

how to add one smart object in multiple files in photoshop?

I know I can do multiple iterations of the same Smart Object within the SAME document and have it change all instances, but what about Smart Objects placed across DIFFERENT documents? That would be ...
4
votes
4answers
6k views

What is the best resolution to work at for Android devices?

I am trying to design an app for Android devices, but they come in all sizes and stuff... with different resolutions and its a bit confusing. What is the best way to do it? Work at the biggest ...