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How to use visual hierarchy in your designs

If you’re not a graphic designer, ‘visual hierarchy’ might sound a little confusing.


Simply put, it’s the method of organising the elements of a design, in order of importance.


Think of a poster or social media graphic, the first thing you’ll see is usually the headline, right?


Why is that?

Well, it’s almost always bigger and more colourful than everything else in the design. It contains the most important information, it’s the attention grabber.


Next, you’ll likely see a smaller section of text containing further information in to help draw you in and get you hooked.


Then there’ll be a bigger section of text containing the call to action, it might be a link to follow, a physical destination (i.e. for an event) or a coupon code for a discount on your next purchase.


Visual hierarchy is all about asking yourself what you want your audience to notice first, then second, then third, etc.


Following this simple design method can help you create designs that are eye-catching, effective and persuasive.


There are too many principals of visual hierarchy to list in just one blog post, so today we’re going to focus on a few key elements that will help you create more impactful designs.


1. Typesetting

Your choice of font, font size and font colour are crucial to getting key information to your audience.


Take a look at our homepage as an example. The first thing your eye should be drawn to is our banner and the words, ‘Delivering Design & Pre-Press Excellence’.


Notice how that particular text is larger, bolder and more eye-catching than any of the other text on the page?


That’s because we want you to understand what we offer, the second you land on that page.


When creating your own designs, you’ll want to research other designs as well. Think about your favourite posters, social graphics and ads, or take a look at some of our examples. What drew you in about the text, what caught your eye?

Use what you learn and apply it to your own creations.


2. Size

There’s really no point making all of your text as big as possible to try to get your audience to read all of it. In fact, it’ll do the opposite. If all of your text is the same size, chances are it’s not visually appealing and your audience will scroll past.


While larger items generally draw the most attention, you need to balance those elements out with smaller elements. It’s called scale.


See how the title of this article is bigger than the rest of the text? That’s the part we wanted you to see first, the part that would hopefully make you want to click and read more.


Just remember, if you want to increase the emphasis, increase the scale.


3. Contrast

Just as we’ve mentioned that larger elements are more visible than smaller elements, brighter, bolder colours are also perceived as being more important.


Try highlighting a smaller section of text out of a larger block to make it stand out.


Alternatively, if you have a light/dark background, overlay it with a contrasting colour. Try red against black or orange against purple.


The key here is to not contrast your colours too often in the same design. Develop a colour scheme containing your key colours and limit it to just two or three.


4. Alignment

The alignment will help to direct your audience’s focus to where you want it. It’s part of the structure of a design and determines where elements in a design are placed.


Alignment is all about carefully choosing where to place each element of your design, be it text or graphics, to ensure that the design has a purpose.


Think about how people process information, left to right, top to bottom, in a ‘z’ pattern. Try to stick to a familiar pattern so you’re not making it more difficult for your audience to process your information.


Now it’s over to you. Use these four principals of visual hierarchy when creating your next design!


Need help with graphic design? Not sure where to start with typesetting?


We can create impactful graphics utilising the visual hierarchy design principals we’ve outlined today. To discuss this or any of our other services, you can contact us on (0191) 482 5042 or email us at production@tech-set.com.




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