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Whether you are working on an infographic design, flyer design or just about any other visual communication, the goal is to get your message across to the readers. It’s fun to create imaginative and colorful layouts, but if you don’t some basic rules of composition, you could be detracting from your message rather than highlighting it. We’ve detailed the five most important tips for using layouts.

It’s all about flow

When people read a document, there is a certain logic to where their eyes go. For example, in a flyer design, they will enter at the most visually interesting feature, which is likely a photograph or visual element on the right side. Then they will go to the upper left and read the text from top to bottom. Other times, such as in infographic design, they will start at the top and read down, depending on the intrinsic flow of information. The basic rule is to think about how people’s eyes will track as they view the document, and that will tell you what kind of layout to use.

Readability reigns

Typefaces can be a fun element to select for your design, but just because you have access to hundreds doesn’t mean you should go crazy. As a general rule, don’t use more than three typefaces in a design. Don’t forget, you can select variations such as bold, condensed, italics and more. If you use more than that, you run the risk of distracting your audience and cluttering your design.

Thoughtful visuals

Less is also more when it comes to photographs, logos, and other visual elements. You want to choose one piece that is significantly larger than any of the others. This will draw the eye in. But all the other visual elements should be smaller to create a hierarchy that helps the reader know what to look at and understand what the main message is.

using layouts
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Accomplishing your goal

Think about what you want your layout to do. Do you want it to educate people? This is usually the case with infographic design. Do you want encourage people to take action or participate in an event? This is the purpose of most ad design? Whatever the goal, make sure your layout is one that facilitates the reaction you are seeking.

The art of restraint

Most of the time, you’ll want to include more information than can actually fit on a design. Be selective about what you include, and be prepared to jettison the info they can find elsewhere. For example, if you are making an infographic about European travel destinations, you won’t be able to include every attraction in every country. Only include the information that fits in your design without looking too cluttered. Provide links that send them to more information.

These basic guidelines should keep you on track when you are working with layouts, no matter what you are creating. Go for simplicity – your readers will thank you.