Aesthetics is surely subjective, and we all have our style biases. Still, art and design experts have suggested “golden ratio” guidelines that can help our products--whether they are represented by a brochure, a website, a business card or our office space--appear more professional, pleasing, and successful.
This concept of ratio to space applies to what I do not only in terms of the design of marketing materials (which are often completed by my clients in-house or by a graphic designer who interprets and/or puts wings to my guidelines) but also in regard to words. How many words should occupy a webpage? How much space on a flyer should include images v. words? How large should fonts be, what font should we use to evoke your industry, what words should pop or optimize searches? These details surely matter as we remember the early days of web design. The frontier revealed a lot of missteps, right? I recall the jarring black and fuscia landscapes of Myspace, or entering a site with all the colors of the rainbow and various, incongruous fonts, or the novice site designer’s favorite twelve images from Grecian art and steampunk all occupying the same page, along with loads of hyperlinks and erroneous, stream-of-consciousness writing
What do you respond to on a website? What captures your interest? Do you prefer serif’d or plain fonts, full pages or clean spaces?
When I’m not on a project, I’m constantly reading about or viewing successful design schemes and how to achieve them. I translate these concepts into my word choices, how many of them I select, and how best to stream them together to drive a concept home and capture and maintain interest. As I drove past various homes in Palm Springs I pondered what quality made me admire and remember one home, while dismissing the next one that might have been similar or even the same model. How do we capture interest or admiration in our speech, or writing, or visual choices?
My philosophy has evolved to one of minimalism while including enough content for a reader to feel informed and “massaged” by elegantly-presented subject matter. Words, design and images should have relevance and impact--they should suggest something to the reader/viewer. Seemingly insignificant choices do matter—a door painted the right shade of orange or with a half-moon handle can invite or repel depending on the rest of the exterior style, and what an owner wants to evoke for those entering.