NHLA Spring Conference 2017 – Debriefing Part 2 – Graphic Design

This insightful and very practical presentation was delivered by Laura Horwood-Benton of the Portsmouth Library. In her engaging presentation, she shared some tricks and simple methods for creating professional looking publicity materials, based on universally recognized design principles as well as her own practical experience that have garnered positive feedback from colleagues and patrons alike.

She mentioned several key design components that include alignment, proximity, contrast, space, color, text, position, and repetition, all of which combine to create the architecture of a given production.

In terms of alignment, the goal is always to keep related objects in line, such that every item has a visual connection and communicates order, sophistication and belonging together. If necessary, use an imaginary or virtual grid to facilitate the alignment and positioning process of objects in the production.

Regarding the element of proximity, the idea here is to communicate connectivity which is achieved by grouping like elements together in a harmonious whole, and this will effectively translate into a sense of unity. Use of white space in this context is not to be undervalued, even to the extent that we shouldn’t at all be afraid of using white space.

Closely related to the concept of white space is contrast, which, however, is not to be restricted to color. Contrast extends also to  size and even shape. A contrastive use of color, size and shape are what distinguish the amateur from the professional designer. Contrast in design helps us to establish hierarchies of importance and facilitates drawing people’s attention to certain areas of a production. Obvious examples of contrast are black and white, big and small, fast and slow, thick and thin. Contrast In design allows us to compare things which are different but not necessarily opposite.

Space, color, font type, and their repetition in a production form the remaining elements of a design. Laura gave great examples of how color choice matters, since color has different moods, font-types speak to different target audiences with unique psychologies.

Key takeaways for me from Laura’s presentation:

Laura shared some great resources which she conveniently separated by category: