Effective Design Of Your Website’s Layout

A layout is equivalent to a map, which should trace the route to a specific location. Similarly, the layout of a website is designed according to users needs, and thus lead them to specific actions. A careful analysis process will help define, from the point of view of visitors of the website, the priorities of the layout.

As a website is designed to meet the needs of visitors, we must take into account what they expect. It is not appropriate to assume what people want to see on our website. Instead, we must ask: Why do people visit my site? what are they looking for? What is their primary need?,How I can satisfy that need? And similar questions.

In large projects of web design, people use different instruments to find the answers to these questions. Sometimes they use a questionnaire to focus groups. But if you do not have much budget, then you must change the design strategies.

Use the following strategies to create an appropriate layout to your audience:

1. Identify the interests of visitors: You must know the interests and preferences of people who will access the website. Only then we will present information relevant and interesting to them.
2. Think as if you were the guest: By seeing yourself as the visitor (figuratively) you can define what is important and what is not important.
3. Define the topics in order of interest: Once you have defined the topics, proceed to organize them in order of interest or preference of the visitor.

Design a layout on paper and define the functional areas:

Take a pencil and paper. Yes, these two instruments that never go outdated. These instruments provide many benefits in the creative process. So, on paper, define the functional areas of the website: the places of the page designed for specific functions. Some examples are: title, sub-title, pictures and text, among others.

1- Draw the table with it’s respective rows and columns.

2- Create grouped small boxes to place items of minor interests that were defined previously.

3- Create a larger box to emphasize a topic of interest. If you want to highlight various topics, create the boxes the same size and aligned them with the same margin.

4- Distribute the contents of the website in sub-parts. Make a uniform layout for the entire website. The scheme must be flexible enough to add some unique items on each page (banners, text tickers, etc.). It is not necessary to publish all information on the main page (home page). Use the technique of the element of surprise through the website. Users will find fascinating surprises while visiting a site. So, distributing your content across multiple webpages is a good idea. Present on the main page elements that appeal to gain the interest of the visitor.

To carefully plan the layout of the site, think more of usability and easy navigation. Visitors will appreciate the value of the site and visit often.

Effective Designs For Email Marketing

Like choosing your own style…contemporary…country…modern…or mixed, pick a design for your email marketing that describes you…immediately and continuously…to your reader.

Your emails are your business image. They need a consistent and professional business image that matches what you’re marketing. Your brand identity tells your readers what they’re getting is from a trustworthy and familiar source.

To have the positive affect you’re looking for, your emails should be easily scannable. Most people don’t read all of the text, but even for those who do, they will first scan the document for important points before deciding to read more. If the message doesn’t scan quickly, they won’t pay attention for a long enough period to understand your message…let alone take action.

Pick a format that matches your message…is it a newsletter or an invitation? Then, put your content in a visually pleasing arrangement. To design your email for easy scannability and identity, you’ll want to work in HTML. You can hire an HTML programmer if you’re not familiar with HTML and have them build a template for you. There are any number of good-quality template design services available.

You can also start with an email template from your ESP (internet service provider), with a newsletter or promotion format, then customize it with your own layout and design elements before inserting your content. Some ESP’s have customizable templates for a variety of formats.

If you’re designing a newsletter, the standard layout has one, two, or three columns. Because we’re used to reading news items in a manner similar to the newspaper, it is customary…and expected by your readers…that your format will match.

Promotions generally have one or more offers and are generally arranged in one column, or sometimes two. Announcements and greetings are arranged in a single column.

Matching your content to the proper format is how you convey to your audience the main idea of your message. This helps the reader decide quickly how to interact.

For an email newsletter format, your content will most likely meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • multiple calls to action
  • is informational rather than promotional
  • is sent on a regular basis to provide informational updates
  • needs a consistent look in order to tie multiple themes together
  • contains multiple headlines and messages targeted to multiple audiences

If you are sending a promotional email, your main focus…important for design elements…is to ask the reader to take a certain course of action.

You can choose from a wide variety of promotional e-mail templates, but whichever you choose, ensure the links, text, headlines and images all focus on the main call to action. The content, as well, must all be related to the main topic and written to help the reader make the decision to act.

Promotional emails generally contain the following:

  • one main theme asking for action…either to purchase or make a commitment of some kind
  • design elements centered around the actions your message is promoting
  • a sales promotion delivered regularly or driven by an event such as a holiday sale, inventory reduction, overstock or some other event to which the promotion is tied

Whether you’re working on a newsletter, promotion, invitation, or other communication, keep the design and content scannable, usable, and memorable. Let it represent you and your business in a friendly, professional manner that fits the email format and works well for your customers and you.

A Brief History of Graphic Design and Its Evolution: Key Elements of Effective Design

Graphic design can be found everywhere in the world. From advertisements in a magazine to the artwork on a paper cup of coffee, to the logo on your sneakers, it can draw us in, or make us cringe. For any business, brand recognition is vitally important to building a consumer base that is aware and interested in your company. It is for this reason that graphic design is something absolutely essential in our lives.

Styles of graphic design change throughout history as well. The 1920s and 30s had the Art Deco/Nouveau style, with bold shapes and colors, silhouettes, and lots of ornate lettering. This style has become iconic and has stood as a timeless visual style with everything from art, architecture, and advertisements to planes, trains and automobiles!

Another widespread graphic movement came in the 1960s and 70s. The Hippie culture influenced a lot of the “earth tones” of browns, yellows and oranges that swept magazine pages and billboards throughout the era. Doritos recently hearkened back to this design era with a bag design for their taco chips. Flat, unshaded letters, and a tan, orange, yellow and brown color palette really captured the 70s perfectly. The 60s had earth tones as well, and incorporated psychedelic imagery and floral patters with lots of colors. Also in terms of typefaces, bubble letter and oversized, flowing typefaces dominated proceedings.

The 1980s were characterized by the “futuristic” design elements. There were many sharp edges, metallic or chrome treatments (think of any rock album cover from the era, as well as movie posters). Neon, bright colors were also definitely in vogue, and any and all references to the brand new computers and their untapped potential. All design in the 80s tended toward the angular, and the typefaces of the era (think of the film Tron, or the band logos for Metallica or Iron Maiden) were no different. It is also worth noting that through the 1980s, virtually all graphic design was done by hand, making a graphic artist a very exclusive position with only a few quality practitioners.

In the 1990s, computers started being used for design and while the 1990s were not a particularly influential or inspiring era (especially with album covers) this change to more computer based work was important. It meant that talented artists could create great work without having to rent studio space, and that more and more businesses could get quality work, with a greater talent pool.

This current era is something I’ll call the Macbook era. With the app market exploding for desktop, laptop and mobile computing, icons for apps are one of the most obvious ways to see this current graphic style. Simplicity that is bold, but with nuanced details and textures and just enough text are the order of the day. In the 1950s, advertisements usually carried at least two or three paragraphs of advertising copy to explain their product. Whereas now, they will carry a sentence or less (often just a word or two) with well placed color and layout and that is enough to drive consumers to a product. Apple is the master of this new style of advertising and their clean, minimalistic designs are very memorable and very effective, evidenced by Apple being the biggest corporation in the world!

Another element that makes designs more memorable, regardless of era is acknowledging personal elements of the client the design is being created for. This personalization can be very effective in logo design and advertising. For example, in Virginia Beach graphic design you see nautical elements, mermaids and water related things, since the city is on the Atlantic Ocean and a popular vacation locale. The deer in the J├Ągermeister logo, as another example, hearkens to the famous Black Forest in Germany and its local wildlife. Adding touches like that can be seen as far back as race posters for Grand Prix racing from the early 20th century, rather than just focusing on the cars, elements of the scenery of the race’s location were often added as well, to build a connection between race goers and the event itself.

The art of graphic design has seen many stages of evolution and will continue to grow and change. The abundance of technological resources available to today’s designers is staggering and I predict we will see even more creative uses of color and shape moving forward. I am very excited about the future of one of my favorite realms of visual art and enjoy having my designs adapt to its evolution.