Another concept of ‘clear, concise and uncluttered graphic design’ is the subject of spacing.
But I would like you to consider whether a piece of designed work is ‘cluttered’ or not by taking a look at the amount of ‘white space’ in it.
There are mainly two kinds of design to consider: those who don’t have enough, and those who use too much!
OK, perhaps there is a lot of material that needs to be crammed onto a small sized page. Sort out what are the most important areas that need to be highlighted to grab the reader’s attention (like headlines and dates), either through colour, shapes or banners, and and slot the corresponding material beneath. Using columns can create white space and a format to force the eye to go in the right direction, as shorter lines enable quicker reading, like as in a ‘newsletter’ scenario. Pictures, although extremely useful, must not overlap, obscure or fall behind the text, and a fancy background accompanying a lot of information, especially if it needs to be absorbed, can be distracting.
Now white space also is important between lines in the text and before and after headings. Neither should be too close to each other, and it takes an ‘eye’ to visualise how much is needed. A great tip I was told was to hold the page in front of you and screw up your eyes. This will show what merges together as a grey (or coloured) haze. If there is too much, then everything is too close.
Some designs have masses of white space, absolutely blinding you on the page. But then where is your content? Is it presented in a tiny font, ‘cleverly’ positioned in a corner somewhere, either with a huge or equally tiny picture or image, and you have to hunt to find the information you crave? If a reader has to ‘work’ to receive the message, then you’ve lost them.
Design should make it easy for the recipient to understand exactly what you’re trying to say in a legible and easily readable format, eye catching and instantly recognisable. Never mind about fancy imagery, leave that to those who have more money than sense.
Another subject I will write on later is the use of colour. Watch this space.