Style Guide: Design Principles
Keeping the “good” in good design.
What makes a print ad, a website or a brochure particularly engaging? Is it the way the particular space is used? The way a photograph is placed within that space? Is it the subject matter of that photograph? Or the writing and the way it invites you to read?
Ultimately, it’s all these things working in concert.
Ending up with good design means starting out with good choices. Here are five of the most important.
Use of negative space
Negative space (commonly referred to as white space) is the often-overlooked design element that allows a layout to breathe. When successfully utilized, it gives your eye somewhere to rest — allowing the audience to engage with the content in an orderly, comfortable fashion.
Proper hierarchy describes how written content is laid out on the page. Specific point sizes and line breaks should be considered based on how you'd like your audience to digest the messaging. Generally speaking: headline first, body copy second.
Write from the audience's perspective. Give them something to relate to. Tell them a story — even if it’s a three-line story — and put them at the center of it.
Utilize images that are emotionally resonant. Photography should be evocative and thought-provoking. Our photos should embody the personality of our brand.
It’s important to brand all communication and marketing material with the proper U-M logo. Every communication is a branding opportunity. Make the most of it.