Design Principle #7 – Hierarchy

You guys, this is the last design principle post in the series! Does that make you as sad as it makes us?! 😭 Well we’re lucky this one is a good one, ending on a high note! Here we gooooo!


The definition of hierarchy is “a system or organization in which people or groups are ranked one above the other according to status or authority.” How fancy. 

Hierarchy, when implemented, literally creates a path for your eye to move around the page. Yes, you can in fact control how the viewer consumes your graphics. Viewers will start with the most dominant feature of your graphic, then move to the next dominant, and the next until they’ve looked over the entire thing.

Proximity also plays a huge role in hierarchy (remember our proximity post??) because often the path your eye follows will be to the next closest, dominant element.

Contrast also plays a large part in hierarchy (it’s allll coming together now), as the design element with the most contrast will typically stand out and become the starting point the hierarchy you’re implementing.

Hierarchy helps force readers to take in the most important information first and then learn details as they dive deeper into the graphic.




Using contrasting fonts for header and body text helps form this hierarchy, and organizes what information you want the viewer to consume first.

Design Elements

Often design elements like lines, arrows or shapes can help move you from one area of the graphic to the next. Keep this in mind when adding design elements. They’re not only there to look good – they should also be working to establish the hierarchy you’re trying to achieve within your design.


Use color to dictate where the viewer should look next. Use brighter, more dominant colors for the elements you want to be viewed first and then use the more neutral colors as their eyes move around the graphic.

And there you have it! These design principles definitely take a conscious effort to implement at first, but the more you familiarize yourself with them the easier they’ll be (AND the better your designs will look)! Implement these design techniques and you’ll be WAY ahead of the game and will immediately up level your visual aesthetic.



Once again, a HUGE thanks to Mariah Althoff for the tips and if you have any questions, feel free to find us on social media and reach out, we love to hear from you!

Design Principle #6 – White Space

“White space is the art of nothing” – We have no idea who said that but it wasn’t us so we put it in quotes. But it encapsulates this week’s post about white space perfectly, don’t you think?


White space is the absence of text and graphics. This can also be referred to as negative space and therefore, doesn’t actually have to be white. White space can be whatever color the background is. 🌈

The basic rule of thumb is that the more white space, the more clean, sophisticated, modern and organized the design feels. Content immediately becomes easier to digest and feels more organized. Less is more, people!

Lack of white space is another huge beginner designer mistake we see all the time. If you’re someone who likes to over-design, keep this in mind while you’re working! It will have a HUGE impact on your design aesthetic.



When Designing, think Apple

Who is the KING of design? Most would say Apple. They also happen to be the king of white space. Coincidence? We think not. The key here is just to not put un-needed fluff in your design just because you feel like you need to design every corner of your graphic. Whitespace IS design, so leave it be if you can!



Once again, thanks to Mariah Althoff for the tips and if you have any questions, feel free to find us on social media and reach out, we love to hear from you!

Design Principle #5 – Contrast

Another Thursday, another design tip! 🌸 This week we’re talking about the importance of contrast as a design principle to really WOW your clients and make your designs stand out from the crowd!

An easy tip to remember is that if two items are not exactly the same, make them different. And it most cases, make them really different (while still keeping them within the same visual theme, of course). This creates more interest on the page and makes certain elements stand out among the rest. This also creates visual hierarchy, which aids in the organization of the graphic (we’ll get to hierarchy soon don’t you worry. 😉)




Another reason for creating an asymmetrically balanced font pairing is to also use this principle of contrast. By choosing one dominant and one subtle font to pair together, you’re creating contrast that visually differentiates one from the other. This makes headings stand out from body text and allows the brain to pick out the important pieces of information. This also works by using the same font for both headers and body text but using a bold version for the header text and a thinner version for the body text.


By using contrasting colors, you’re able to make certain design elements pop in relation to others. If you have text in a red box next to text in a gray box, the text in the red box is naturally going to stand out because of the contrast created by the two colors.



Once again, thanks to Mariah Althoff for the tips and if you have any questions, feel free to find us on social media and reach out, we love to hear from you!

Design Principle #4 – Repetition

This week we’re talking about using repetition within your designs in order to create consistency and visual interest. Your shop and brand should have a certain overall aesthetic to draw the customers you want and also to establish yourself as a the credible and awesome designer that you are!

Repeating certain characteristics (ie. fonts, colors, layouts, design elements, etc.) within your design will keep the design unified and cohesive. This then creates a visual theme that creates this unification and consistency. This is especially helpful when designing multiple related graphics or a multi-page document because the repetition of design elements will tie them all together and make them feel unified and consistent. Repetition is also the number one way to create a recognizable brand identity.




Use the same 2-3 fonts throughout your graphic and make sure they correspond to the same type of text each time. For example, use the same header font for every header in your graphic. And therefore, use the same body font for all of the body text throughout your graphic. Easy enough, right?

Shapes and Lines and Other Design Elements

Try repeating design elements, like shapes or lines, multiple times throughout your graphic. This helps bring it all together and feel unified, while also creating a visual theme for the entire piece.


Use the same color palette throughout the entire graphic, and when possible, use the same color for similar design elements. ie. If you used red for a sub-header, use red for every single sub-header going forward.


For multi-page documents or graphics of the same series, sometimes it helps to use the same layout each time while switching out the content accordingly. This can be done with a multi-page portfolio as well as with several series of social media graphics.



Once again, thanks to Mariah Althoff for the tips and if you have any questions, feel free to find us on social media and reach out, we love to hear from you! 🌸


How To Print Like a Pro – Tip #1: Set Your Bleed

Bleeds are probably the most important and the least well-understood element to a print-ready file. A bleed is extra padding around all four sides of your document, of which the colors or images touching the edge of the paper, bleed onto. This padding is usually 1/8” extra on each side.

A bleed’s main purpose is to avoid any white slivers of unprinted paper from showing on the edges after its trimmed down to size. If the color goes past the edge of the cut line, that will avoid any room for minor cutting error’s and will leave your print pieces looking clean and professionally done.

With this in mind, it’s important that your print ready documents be set up with bleeds from the beginning, so you can design with them as you go.

So now lets learn how to set them up!

Illustrator and InDesign

In both Illustrator and InDesign, setting up bleeds from the get-go is easy. When creating a new document, in the “Bleed” field, make sure all four sides are set to .125 in.

Now, when you’re designing, just make sure any color or image that you intend to run off the page, is extended to that red line outlining your art boards or pages.

When saving your final PDF, you want to make sure that your bleeds are saved out as well.

No matter what “PDF Preset” you have selected, make sure you go into the “Marks and Bleeds” tab on the left hand side of the “Save Adobe PDF” panel and check the box that says “Use Document Bleed Settings”.


Photoshop however, does not have any inherent bleed settings. This is because Photoshop isn’t typically supposed to be used for print production (nor do we recommend it), but for many, it’s the only program they know how to use.

In order to “fake” a bleed into your Photoshop file, you merely just add .25” to your height and width of your intended cut size.

For example, if you wanted to create business cards that are 3.5”x2”, you would create a canvas that is 3.75”x2.25”, and make sure you only put designed content within the 3.5”x2” parameters. Just be sure to tell your print shop your intended cut size, so that you’re all on the same page and they understand that you’ve built in a bleed.



Once again, thanks to Mariah Althoff for the tips and if you have any questions, feel free to find us on social media and reach out, we love to hear from you!

Design Principle #3 – Alignment

Another Thursday, another design tip! 🌸 This week we’re talking about how to use alignment to your advantage to create more eye-catching designs. And more visual interest = more attention = more sales!


First off, every design element placed in your graphic should be visually aligned to something else on the page. Whether that’s the side of the page, the edge of an image, the text that’s above it, etc., nothing should be placed arbitrarily on the page. This is probably the #1 beginner mistake seen in graphics and quite possibly the easiest to fix.




Align all of your text the same way. It’s really difficult to successfully have right justified, left justified and centered text all in one graphic. Although it can be possible I suggest sticking with one (maybe two) consistent alignments to avoid any design faux pas.


Make sure you’re strategically placing your imagery within the page. Typically it’s best to align it with either text of the side of the page.


I see some strange logo placements in DIY graphics. If the logo isn’t the main attraction and is just there to brand your graphic, your best bet is to place it in a corner or align it within a design element itself, like a colored box or over top of a photo. If your logo is the main attraction, center it and align other design elements around it.



Once again, thanks to Mariah Althoff for the tips and if you have any questions, feel free to find us on social media and reach out, we love to hear from you!

Design Principle #2 : Proximity

Another Thursday, another design tip! 🌸 This week we’re talking about the importance of proximity as a design principle to really WOW your clients and make your designs stand out from the crowd!

Proximity is when you group related items together so that it is visually clear they’re related. This helps create organization within your graphic which causes information to be remembered more easily. Our brains love organization, so when a graphic is organized appropriately, it’s both visually appealing and easier to consume.

Proximity also makes white space feel more organized, and therefore more balanced. (See how these are all starting to relate?)


Grouping together related text is HUGE in making your graphic easier to consume. Make sure related headers, sub-headers, and body text are all grouped together accordingly so that it’s super obvious that they’re all talking about the same thing.

Grouping imagery closely with related text will again make your graphic easier to consume and also easier to remember. Because so many of us are visual learners, grouping imagery with related text makes us much more likely to remember the information associated with it.



Once again, thanks to Mariah Althoff for the tips and if you have any questions, feel free to find us on social media and reach out, we love to hear from you!

Up Your Etsy Game – Tip #1 : Tag Strategically

When you’re uploading designs to Etsy, or any marketplace, it’s always tempting to breeze through the submission process. You’re all ready to get your designs up and selling as soon as possible and there’s often multiple steps; that can be really time consuming and even annoying, we get it.

Tagging is one of the steps that is always a part of this process. Many shop owners throw in a few random tags with little thought or even attempt to skip this step entirely. This can have detrimental effects on your sales potential.

Think about it. Etsy is a huge marketplace and there’s one primary way for people to find you: search results.

Even if your designs are amazing, if you don’t rank well in several searches, odds are your shop will remain undiscovered.

Tagging is the answer! This often overlooked step is the one that can take you from zero to hero and from a small shop to a thriving business! 

A critical step in improving your shop’s search ranking is to find the best possible words to describe your shop and your items. Think like a shopper: What words would you search when looking for your products or shop? It’s helpful to think of all of the possible words that can be used to describe the same thing: your product. For example, you might tag your custom invitation listing with something like “editable”, “customizable”, and “personalize”. Use all three tags even though they mean almost exactly the same thing to capture as many different types of searchers as possible.


Need more help? Ask yourself these questions to help brainstorm!


Design Principle #1 : Balance

Do you want to take your graphics to the next level to stand out from the competition? Following these simple design tips will seriously put you miles above the rest and bring you new clients and business!

We’ll be releasing new design tips every Thursday so keep an eye out, and show us your finished work with the hashtag #printsoflove , we love seeing your successes!


Your graphics need to have a sense of balance. This isn’t to say that each side needs to be perfectly symmetrical, but the amount of visual weight on each side should feel cohesive and intentional to create this feeling of balance.

Visual weight can be determined by three different design factors:

Color: Bolder, brighter colors carry more visual weight than softer, lighter colors.

Size: The larger the design element, the more visual weight it has.

Thickness: Thicker lines carry more visual weight than thin lines.

Using these three factors you can create two types of balance:

Symmetrical and Asymmetrical

Symmetrical balance is when the visual weight is distributed evenly between both sides of the graphic

Asymmetrical balance is when visual weight is intentionally and thoughtfully unequal between the two sides. In these scenarios, you’re often using white space as visual weight to balance the other side of your graphic.




Font pairings rely almost completely on asymmetrical balance. Pairing one dominant font (like one font that’s bold or draws more attention like a brush font or calligraphy font) with a more subtle basic font (like Helvetica or anything that feels more simplified) will create a perfect font pairing by using asymmetrical balance to your benefit.

You can create either symmetrical balance or asymmetrical balance to produce an effective color palette.
Symmetrical color palettes will use colors that all seem to have the same brightness or intensity – and therefore each carries an equal visual weight. They should all feel like they cohesively work together without drawing attention to any one color in particular.

An asymmetrical color palette will typically use one or two colors that dramatically stand out among the others. For example, using a black, white and red color palette creates an asymmetrical balance because the red takes the majority of the visual weight but is balanced out by the addition of black and white colors it’s paired with.

White Space
White space, or the amount of negative space where no design elements take up room, is a design element in itself. You can use white space to balance out your design.

Completely filling your page with crap won’t help balance your design, in fact it makes it feel unprofessional and overwhelming. Use white space as a design element in itself because it too has visual weight. You can do that by either creating an equal amount of white space on each side of your graphic in order to give it a symmetrical balance or by using a large amount of whitespace on one side to balance out the design elements on the other in order to use an asymmetrical layout.

Either way, white space is your FRIEND. Use it as much as you can!

Let us know what you think in the comments below and a huge THANK YOU to Mariah Althoff for the design tips!