I'm designing an planner (agenda) book for my school. I'm doing flat design, but it seems a bit boring to me. What can I do to spice it up?

Updated Image: Removed the drop shadows.

The poster

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    The point of "flat" is that it's not exciting. Clarity takes precedence over excitement. Both is ideal, but clarity comes first. And drop shadows are in direct conflict with the "flat" philosophy. – Scott May 1 '14 at 20:13
  • Since this is all related to a specific project, you may be better off asking your specific questions in chat: chat.stackexchange.com/rooms/1240/the-ink-spot Questions need to relate to everyone, not just your project. Chat's a great place to get input on a specific project. – Scott May 1 '14 at 20:17
  • Seriously; good design is not about conforming to fashions and styles. It is about creating something beautiful, useful and well suited to the context. If you want a drop shadow, make a drop shadow. If it looks out of place, remove it. Forget the norms. – benteh May 1 '14 at 20:17
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    And, um, that design isn't flat. The helm is stacked on top of letters, along with the heading. – Andrew Leach May 1 '14 at 20:20
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    This isn't an issue of flat design, but basic design concepts. Alas, it's a bit broad to answer as one question. But general things to think about: balance and scale, contrast, usage (and consistency) of white space, hierarchy, type choices... – DA01 May 1 '14 at 20:40

If you remove "Las Lomas" (which is redundant: you already have the badge and everyone will immediately recognize the colors) and enlarge the badge so it almost fills the cover, or even bleeds off the edge, you can make "2014-2015" and "Student Planner tiny-but-visible. The contrast of huge and small will add pizzazz to the design and make it look much more modern and designed.

Just keep in mind that the badge has to be HUGE, and it doesn't have to all fit on the page. Take a look at this video from John McWade, which will give you the idea.

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  • I'll check the video out, thanks! The only thing is, the Las Lomas text is mandatory. – dubstaphone May 2 '14 at 15:48
  • Then make it tiny! The key to bringing this cover to life is contrast. Huge badge, so big it can't fit in the frame, tiny text right-aligned over to the right in the negative space left by the LL. You can do this! :) – Alan Gilbertson May 2 '14 at 20:07
  • good review, nice input on the text, overall the best solution for the piece, period. – CuriousWebDeveloper May 7 '14 at 23:33

I think something you could work a little more on is the consistency of your text and perhaps the spacing.

Consistency in this case means two things for me: Fonts, and font 'styles'. I wouldn't mind if your "Las Lomas" and "Student Planner" use completely different fonts, but "Las Lomas" has a thick black stroke and "Student Planner" is thin and clean, no strokes, no effects of any kind. I'd like to see a "Las Lomas" in solid color (white maybe, or a very light orange), perhaps bigger.

The second thing I'd try is moving the background letters (LL) and the knight down, so the text on the top part of your design has no background. Something like this (please excuse my terrible choice of font, had to pick one in a hurry):

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  • I like this. The Las Lomas text is mandatory, however – dubstaphone May 2 '14 at 0:27

Try adding depth to the knight's head by adding shadows to it and keeping it alight at 90 degrees instead of tilted.

Change the background colour too, it merges with the logo colour and the feather on the knight's head. A blue might give good contrast and sooth the palette.

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  • Can you please add a image? – Mensch Feb 17 '16 at 13:41

Without getting rid of the flattness, which I find is a plus in this design, you could try - instead of shadows as some have suggested - using a few subtle gradients. The background burgundy for example could have a gradient where it's slightly darker at the top right. Maybe the light grey of the helmet could use a slight gradient too. Just don't overdo it and make the gradients too strong or everywhere.

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OK . you should removed the stroke about the title and search for another color . the background on the top is shocked . after that the yellow shadow is not good ..try it please

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  • Hi Foda. Welcome to GD.SE! While we really appreciate your participation, we expect answers to explain the reasoning behind the decisions you mention. Why do you think it's better to remove the stroke? What do you mean about the background? Why is the shadow no good? These are all interesting points, but with no explanations on why they need to be changed they are not very useful. Check this article from our Help Center: How do I write a good answer? – Yisela May 1 '14 at 21:11

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