4-Step Guide to Better Design | Brand+Aid Insights

It doesn't matter whether you're promoting a department, service or product, it's important think about how you "look" to potential customers.

There is a lot of noise in the market and it’s your job to stand out.

What is so important about design? Does it even serve a purpose? How can you design if you're not a graphic designer? Brand+Aid Insights takes you into the world of design with this simple 4-step guide to understanding and improving your design skills.

Font choice:

There are many types of fonts so picking the right one might be tough. Know the difference between typefaces (serif, sans serif, script, etc.) and determine which font families speak to your business. Remember: multiple typefaces in a design will fight each other. Limit the use of multiple fonts in a design to a maximum of three (less is better), and develop a style guide for digital and print collateral to maintain brand consistency. 

Font weight:

When choosing a font, it can be beneficial to select one with multiple weights (i.e., light, regular, italic, semi-bold, bold, etc.). Try using multiple weights in the design. This will help draw the viewer’s eye to different elements without switching your typeface. Font weight can also be helpful in distinguishing your domain from within a URL. (e.x., or


Adjusting kerning within type is an excellent way to make text look pleasing to the eye. Kerning is the space between characters in a line of text. The human brain can be overly attentive to information that comes in from the edges of vision; therefore, adjusting the kerning can help the reader quickly absorb and comprehend the information. This can also help open up a stand-alone line of text and draw the eye to that particular element more effectively.


Kerning and tracking are similar, but different. The difference between the two is simple: tracking is the spacing between all the letters in a selection of text and kerning is the spacing between two specific letters. Small adjustments to the tracking can help make lines of text more legible and open.


Leading refers to the distance between lines of type. Adjusting leading is an effective way of combining multiple lines of text into one element in a design. This can be used to create positive and negative distance between headlines and display type. Remember: use moderately, because crowded lines might make text look claustrophobic. On the other hand, if the leading is loose then your lines of text might look like separate elements.


One of the most important aspects of successful imagery is making sure a photo is framed correctly. Containing elements within an image is imperative to portray your message effectively. Pay attention to the top, bottom, left and right edges, and tilt, to make sure your focal piece is framed well. 


This is essential for a photography aesthetics. When shooting outside during the day your primary source of light is the sun, therefore, hard and soft light makes a huge difference. Try your best to shoot during the first two hours after sunrise and the last two hours before sunset when the natural light is soft. Always make sure your focal piece is lit appropriately if it's the main feature of your collateral. Remember: effective imagery speaks much louder than text.


Your agency is not exactly the same as another. Your brand has a different voice, identity and audience so find out what works best for you. Fine-tune your design and don’t be afraid to try new styles. You might even dig deeper and host a focus group or do an online survey of your social media following in order to gain feedback on what designs communicate effectively to your audience.

You don’t have the time to waste on long-winded ads; neither do your readers. Practice brevity whenever possible. We can use kerning and tracking best practices to improve readability, however, it’s mute if your ad rambles. Spend time researching copy-writing tips and tricks. Reduce the number of text elements in your design as much as possible and have the imagery and typography do the speaking for you. Your readers need to know the “why” more than anything else so save the long-winded details for your website. 

Personally, poor spacing and element placement are always the first things that turn me off to a design. If elements are disproportionate in a design, and don’t compliment the background image, then your reader’s eyes will jump to errors rather than your message. Take time to make sure the design is contained properly. If you choose to stack text, make sure the edges of type are in-line with each other. In photography, using the rule of thirds helps you frame a picture and the same principle can be applied in design. If you use any Adobe product, set guides to ensure your design is “framed” correctly. Try using circles and lines to contain text elements rather than letting the text stand alone. When applied, these tips and tricks can help the reader naturally comprehend your marketing collateral. 


Affordable and Accessible Marketing Education

The concept of the Brand+Aid Conference was born from the desire to educate public-sector staff about marketing and social media. 

To be successful in today’s competitive business culture, we must be open to new ideas and be wiling to evolve. At the Brand+Aid Institute in Charlotte, NC, (the day before NRPA Congress begins) and the Brand+Aid Conference in Grand Prairie, TX, attendees are exposed to an array of new-age marketing tools and tactics. 

If marketing in the digital world confuses and frustrates you, then Brand+Aid Marketing just might be the right tool to get you and your staff up-to-speed.

Last modified onTuesday, 27 January 2015 16:05

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