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

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36
votes
5answers
4k 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 ...
32
votes
4answers
3k 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 ...
27
votes
4answers
561 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 ...
22
votes
4answers
21k views

What are the differences between vector graphics and raster graphics?

I understand from prior knowledge that there are two different image format / composition options available for creating images; raster and vector. I would like to understand more about them, such as ...
21
votes
5answers
6k 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 ...
21
votes
4answers
1k views

What methods can I use to create balance and consistency between a group of differing logos?

A regular challenge that I face is balancing two (or more) logos. Whether they need to be equal or one needs to be given priority. Some logos however might be squares, others rectangles, circles, ...
21
votes
1answer
2k views

How do I choose a good cover photo for my website?

It's been trendy to have large background images with relatively little text over them for headers and intros to web pages including the start of blog posts. I could give countless examples of this, ...
21
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
20
votes
4answers
892 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 ...
19
votes
8answers
2k 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 ...
19
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
18
votes
6answers
6k views

Is it essential to type “WWW” when our design contains URL, or is it a matter of taste by now?

I love the appearance of traditional url's, because the www in front of them eases and speeds up my understanding that there's definitely a certain web adress. But is there any established guideline ...
17
votes
7answers
6k 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
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 ...
13
votes
6answers
2k 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 ...
13
votes
3answers
15k 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 ...
13
votes
1answer
1k 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' ...
13
votes
5answers
869 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 ...
12
votes
4answers
866 views

How to avoid making icons and logos too minimal?

When making an icon or a logo it might be very tempting to push and reduce it to the limit to achieve the absolutely minimal symbol. For example: tiny photo of a floppy disk -> cartoonish picture of ...
11
votes
3answers
2k views

Why are circles used to draw a logo?

Recently, I started taking interest in logo designs and started replicating some famous logos. Soon, I came across this article about twitter's new logo, released somewhere in june '12 . On this ...
11
votes
3answers
2k 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
7answers
948 views

Graphic design beginner: How do you get to the point where a design is in your head?

I know this question might sound stupid but I'm a programmer and I want to learn graphic design. Well, from what I see you have to learn stuff like color theory, composition, spacing, etc. I get that ...
10
votes
1answer
946 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
923 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 ...
8
votes
9answers
8k 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, ...
8
votes
4answers
857 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
548 views

Seeking advice to improve the design of my minimalist calculator [closed]

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
874 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
382 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
101 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
3answers
69k 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
597 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
5k 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
32k 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
637 views

How do design trends originate?

In my short experience with graphic design I've seen design go from bevel & emboss to all flat designs. People always hop onto these design trends with no hesitation. Anyways, I have a few ...
7
votes
2answers
176 views

How to create flow and rhythm through composition

Composition is a great tool for creating a visual flow or rhythm to guide the viewers eye and lead them through your content. Thinking about the way you want your users to interact with your content ...
7
votes
1answer
384 views

What techniques can be used to create a proper hierarchy of design elements?

This question is similar to this one and this one, but still different enough to merit it's own Q&A, imho. As a beginning designer, and up to this day, I have always struggled with a very basic ...
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
761 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
4k 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
460 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
676 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
1answer
759 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
747 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
823 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
6answers
14k 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
602 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
4answers
229 views

Design & OCD: Are there any exercises/methods to avoid over-analysis in a design project?

Suffering from OCD can sometimes have implications in evaluating a design project: i.e. Over analysis, over-revision, etc. Forensic attention to detail is usually expected of design projects. So how ...