The modern world is driven by digital imagery. From billboards to social media platforms and everything in between, we pay attention to the images that are presented to us.
The ones that pique our interest are typically also the ones we remember when it’s time to make our next purchase. And modern business owners are certainly aware of this, with more and more modern industries investing in digital design, whether it be the design and development of their website, or the arrangement of digital ads.
For digital artists working in this space like graphic designers and UI designers, creating stunning digital designs is truly all in a day’s work. But for those looking to enter the industry themselves, it can be puzzling to know just where to begin when it comes to engaging with design theories.
That’s why today, we’ll be looking at some of the most valuable digital design tips to keep in mind when honing your own creative skills.
Composition When Working with Digital Imagery
Contrary to popular belief, the principles of digital design do have plenty of overlap with traditional art theories. The rule of thirds, for instance, is also prevalent when designing digital imagery like graphics and photos for business websites. The reason for considering this rule when finetuning the composition of your digital imagery, is to make sure that your digital images and graphics are aligned with the dimensions of other imagery on your website, as well as the way your site looks on different devices.
In the context of UX as well, the rule of thirds is superb for innately balancing all the different elements of your site’s UI. As the rule works by following the idea that the user interface of your website should ideally maintain balance when broken up into a grid of nine components, using the rule of thirds when formatting your site can help reduce the risk of site elements becoming cluttered and not spaced out enough to actually grip the attention of your site visitors.
Perfecting your colour scheme
Newton’s colour wheel is another digital design tip that’s been borrowed from traditional art theory. Originally a scientific discovery that had come about when Isaac Newton held a prism up to a beam of white light which then revealed all the complimentary and contrasting colours that made up that light, the colour wheel had then gone on to be used for centuries by artists to maintain balance in the colouring, shading, and contrast of their creations.
Comparatively, the colour wheel can be used in digital design projects to ensure that the colour scheme behind UI like websites or mobile applications maintains a strong sense of balance. Colour psychology can also be used to help improve upon branding for businesses who are seeking to develop digital products like apps and websites.
By using colour combinations that are more likely to appeal to your target demographic, digital designers can ensure that their end products have the potential to not only engage a large audience online, but also deliver a high return on that business’ investments in their user interface design.
The Power of Selecting The Right Fonts and Typefaces
One element of digital design that’s often overlooked is the decision-making process behind selecting fonts and finetuning the typography behind your project. But what is typography, and what makes this ‘word-heavy’ design theory such a vital component of developing highly compelling mobile apps and websites?
In the simplest terms, typography encompasses selecting all the right fonts and typefaces to accompany your brand’s communications, both internally as well as externally. When handled carefully, the process of selecting your typography for digital designs can actually go a long way when it comes to making your business branding and identity stand out amidst its competition.
Think about some of the world’s most famous typefaces, like Disney’s iconic cursive yet still deliciously bold branding font. This font was developed to mirror the writing style of Walt Disney himself, preserving the company’s unique, romantic history and affinity for wonderment.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, many modern corporations (especially those operating within the tech industry) tend to opt for more neutral, sans serif business fonts that are guaranteed to pop on screens without fatiguing the eye. But just because your font is relatively neutral, it doesn’t mean that you can’t still make it your own. Even just a small tweak to the typeface, like connecting one or two letters together or even adding your own element into the interior circle of ‘o’s, ‘b’s, or other letters or figures, can help make your brand’s typography stand out in a memorable way.
Maintaining Purpose in your Designs
Although one of the defining goals for all digital designers is to make end products that feel unique to the brand that they represent, there is another requirement that all digital designs must possess. This is of course, maintaining a sense of purpose and functionality behind those finished designs.
When you visit a website or use a mobile app, the usability of that interface is perhaps the most powerful factor as to whether or not you are satisfied during your interactions with that digital product. This ties into considering the rule of thirds when formatting your digital designs, but it’s important to note that usability involves a lot more than just art theory.
Usability also demands that all the interactive components of your digital design (i.e. clickable buttons, side scrolling panels, animated icons, etc.) work smoothly and seamlessly with your app or website’s primary functions. By running usability tests and gathering data from site testers during the development of your digital designs, you can ensure that your designs maintain their purpose and facilitate functionality from the drawing board and all through to their final iteration.
As you can see, flexing your creative muscles when it comes to digital design must also involve a lot of technical thinking. This is what makes digital design a highly specialised skill set in its own right, and one that is undeniably in high demand today, with virtually all industries experiencing a growing need for highly engaging and immaculately designed digital interfaces and advertisements.
With this in mind, there has never been a better time to delve into the digital as a modern artist. So go forth and create!