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!