Twelve essential ingredients for cooking up visually appetizing content.

Though design trends are constantly changing, we stand by a few classics that never go out of style. Incorporate these 12 essential elements into the mix for visually stunning layouts that bring your content to life.

1. Balance

Your website should always be at equilibrium: all elements should work together to capture the viewer’s attention without overwhelming them. If you value a balanced web design, potential clients will assume that your company is also clear, organized, and focused.

2. Color

Color is one of the most powerful elements of design, setting the mood for your content. Bright orange, for example, implies “anger” — one of the seven deadly sins of brand publishing.

3. Contrast

Juxtaposing certain design elements can accentuate key differences, drawing viewers’ eyes toward the most important aspects of a page. A bold, light-colored headline, for example, may work best atop a more muted, subtle background.

4. Depth

Unlike flat images, designs with depth give your graphics a more realistic, interactive feel that invites viewers to become a part of the action.

5. Direction

A well-executed design can help guide the attention of your viewer in one direction or another. Carefully consider the placement of each element to guide readers through a sequence of events.

6. Hierarchy

Visual hierarchy conveys the importance of choice pieces of information by highlighting certain words or images. Take the image below, for example: your eyes are immediately drawn to “Change Your Diet,” presenting the most important takeaway as the first one we see.

7. Lines

Lines are fundamental building blocks for graphics and illustrations. They can be used to convey virtually any mood, style, or effect, all the while maintaining your web page’s clean, balanced look.

8. Randomness

While abiding by proven design elements is a great way to achieve visual appeal, randomness itself is a clever and surprising way to get your point across. Just don’t be too random – otherwise you’ll confuse the viewer and offset your website’s visual balance.

9. Scale

Scale describes the size of one object in relation to another. Experimenting with different scaling techniques can emphasize meaningful takeaways — but it’s important to note that bigger isn’t always better!

10. Texture

Texture is a subtle design element that can make a big visual impact. It brings your content to life and engages readers in the nuances of your message.

11. Transparency

Transparency is often used to create layered imagery that makes a statement without overpowering any element of the design.

12. Typography

The art of arranging type in a visually pleasing way is paramount to a designer’s skillset. The stylization of the words on a page can change the entire message and tone of the piece, so finding a complementary typeface requires a creative mind.

Longneck and Thunderfoot offer digital strategy services, including website branding, style guides, persona development, and audience segmentation. We’re a partner in making content work for your business. Learn more about digital strategy here.

Author Andres Clua

Originally hailing from Uruguay and a graduate of Universidad ORT, Andrés runs design and web development at L&T, generating original, interactive graphics and designing professional publications across a range of industries.

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