When designing a poster, flyer, or any marketing material, your content and design elements should always work hand in hand to ultimately deliver the message you want to convey. Unfortunately, many marketing materials fail for the reason of being loaded with too much information. However, the main dilemma is not so much the information overload as the manner by which the information is presented to the audience. After all, the goal is to make your audience appreciate your message and what you are offering.
This is where visual hierarchy comes into play. Visual hierarchy helps your audience makes sense of your material with minimal or no effort at all. Below are 5 best practices to achieve visual hierarchy in your next marketing campaign.
- The Z Scanning Pattern
Most people would read a page from the top going down, and from left to right. However, when it comes to print material and people simply scanning a page, the top-down, left-right habit is thrown out the window. People tend to look across at what’s on top of the page, then move to the opposite corner at a diagonal, then once more across the bottom of the page. What this means is your most important elements should be at the corners, as well as right in the middle of the page where the connecting diagonal is.
Your text size determines what your audience gets to read first. The usual format follows the top down pattern with the biggest font size for the header, a slightly smaller size for a sub-header, and then the smallest fonts for the rest of the page. This format draws the audience’s attention in the direction you want. However, the bottom line is that the biggest texts are what your audience would get to read first, and your text sizes have to make sense. If unsure of what the rest of the text sizes should be, simply create a hierarchy of the information you want to include and use that as a guide.
- NEGATIVE SPACE
Going back to the Z scanning pattern, notice that it doesn’t use the sides of the page. While the rule is not absolute, what this implies is that there should always be a white or negative space on your page to allow your message to breathe. A page chockfull of details is both confusing and time-consuming for your audience, granted that they even give it the time of day.
- TYPOGRAPHY AND TYPEFACE
Your choice of fonts and how these are arranged together has to be clear and readable. While it may be tempting to use the most ornamental fonts you can get your hands on, readability should always be a priority. At the same time, the weight and style of your fonts would also play a key factor in communicating to your audience what is important in your message. Arranging the text in a curve or a diagonal will also help it stand out, especially if the page layout is based on a grid.
Color also helps tell your audience what is important on your page. A classic example is using a muted background color or graphic and using bold colors for your message. You can also use color to identify which pieces of information go together, especially if they are not side-by-side on the page.
Visual hierarchy goes beyond using the biggest fonts, the most vibrant colors, or the most attention-grabbing graphics. Visual hierarchy lets you send a cohesive message to your audience and getting them to respond, which is what marketing is all about.