Why layout & structure set the foundation for design success

Yellow pencil against yellow and blue background

4 minutes read

Like building a great house, successful design starts with a solid foundation.

Think of design layout as a building plan and structure as a house frame: one informs the other and both come together to form a cohesive bond that stands the test of time.

Without a plan, the project has no structure; without structure, the project cannot take form.

This quick guide explores the importance of layout and structure in composing eye-catching and memorable design to stand out from the crowd.

When form met function

Successful design is a marriage of form and function, meaning it can’t just look good, it also has to serve its purpose.

When planning your design, ask yourself: what is it for? Why are we doing it? Formulate a clear picture of what it is you are selling and consider the message you want it to communicate.

Take the example of a property developer. Are they just selling a piece of real estate or are they selling a lifestyle? Cosmetics companies don’t just sell beauty products – they sell the idea that you can be a better version of yourself.

Here’s the trick of really good design: it shows, not tells. A cosmetics brand doesn’t come right out and say, “our product can cover that up for you”.

Instead, it visually demonstrates the immense benefits it will have on your life. Don’t tell your consumers about your product, show them with meaningful imagery.

See me, feel me

Images are powerful. They stick in our minds more than words and can make us feel in an instant what could take several paragraphs to explain.

They say the first bite is taken with the eyes. Think about any fast-food chain. Their ultimate selling point is how their food looks, not how it tastes. The picture that resonates in the mind is a fat, juicy burger with melting cheese or golden salted fries. Hungry yet?

This is how marketers ultimately convince consumers to buy a product – not by telling us how good the product is but by showing us how good it could be. They sell the sizzle, not the steak.

Even with great content, readers need a reason to look and stay engaged. Clever design is a hook to catch the reader’s eye and draw their attention to the content.

I see a red door

Colour selection plays a significant psychological role in the design process and can be exceptionally powerful in influencing consumer choice and how they associate with various brands and products.

Particularly in advertising, colours are used strategically to elicit certain emotions and behaviours in consumers. Red can signify lust, power or anger; green relates to envy as well as money and the environment.

There’s a whole field of study devoted to how colours affect people, so develop a colour palette that works to your advantage.

Colour can also provide a direct association with a specific brand, like ‘Coke bottle red’ or ‘Cadbury purple’. Even though it’s difficult to trademark a hue (Cadbury conceded its 24-year battle to claim the colour as their own in 2019), the psychological connection it creates in consumers is everlasting.

I think we need some space

Also like building a house, design is all about location, location, location. The spacing around a design element like an image or block of text helps it stand out and signposts how it relates to the overarching design.

The spatial relationship between text and images is key to maintaining a natural and logical flow in your design.

Images are also used to break up large chunks of text, which is more aesthetically pleasing to a reader and helps keep them engaged in the story you’re trying to tell.

Success by design

Whatever your design desires, Aruga’s team of graphic design professionals can build it to perfection. If you can visualise it, we can make it happen.

Graphic Design

Need a schmick-looking publication, traffic-stopping digital display, eye-grabbing social media content or branded swag? Aruga’s experienced team of graphic designers, animators and creatives have the know-how to make your brand stand out from the crowd.