Explore 7 principles for creating a great layout that communicates your message effectively.

Multiple images of a poster design for a Summer Festival

Creating a layout that captures the attention of your intended audience begins with understanding how best to use design to communicate your message. The following key design principles are the foundation of any great layout:

Use white space to create an impact

Layouts that are cluttered fail to draw the reader’s eye to important information. Including enough white space (also called negative space) is vital for delivering the intended message. That means having sufficient distance between design elements to separate sections of your design and balance out the positive and negative space. 

Image of two posters for a Summer Festival but one has the title over the design so is too visually busy

Group and organize your content effectively

Keeping related design elements together helps to capture the reader’s attention by making information accessible. For example, on an event poster, arrange the event date, time, and place together, to ensure that the reader understands their relationship to each other. 

Two depictions of a Summer Festival poster, one has the event details together in a space that easy to read

Use key design elements repeatedly

In an effective layout, repeating elements or styling adds coherence, giving readers a design “language” they can learn. As they go through your content, they then know what to expect. For instance, you may select specific colors, also known as a color palette, to use throughout your design. 

Image of a matching Summer Festival event promo on a desktop and on a poster

Add contrast to create visual “pop”

In layout design, contrast is used to make one element different from another using color, fonts, font sizing, and more. It’s eye-catching and attention-grabbing. Use different types of contrast to call attention to the content you want the reader to focus on.

Image of a poster detail and the entire poster side by side, one side shows the font and visual details

Align content for visual appeal

With content properly aligned, your layout will be appealing and easy to navigate visually. You can align content with a visible grid or using visual alignment tools.

Image of text for a poster being aligned right with alignment tool options

Create a focal point

What do you want the reader to focus on first? This is what’s known as your content focal point. Use your focal point as the starting point for the layout. On a sales web page, a call to action, such as the “Buy Now” button, may be the focal point.

Image of an event poster with an eyeball icon connecting to a white line showing the way eyes will travel through the poster

Create content hierarchy

Deciding which elements are the most important in your design will help you to define content hierarchy. Using design features like fonts, font size, font weight, and color, you can visually convey the relative importance of the different content elements in your design. 

Image of an event poster with five numbers highlighting the importance of design elements in order

Armed with these seven principles for creating layouts that capture attention, you’re well on your way to promoting services, events, products, and much more. Next step: jump into Illustrator!

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