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Essential Design Concepts for Non Designers

Whether we like to admit it or not, competition in the private school world is on the rise. The National Association of Independent Schools reports that admission officers must identify 910 prospective students to fill 100 spots.


The message is loud and clear—to thrive in this environment you must take steps to differentiate your school from the alternatives and demonstrate value. One way is by making sure the components that make up the visual identity of your brand are far reaching as they play an integral part in the way your institution is perceived. In this article we present 10 ways to elevate and transform your graphics.

1. White Space Is Your Friend: White space is the unused area in your document. It assists in separating paragraphs of text, graphics, and other elements of your design. Whitespace is a fundamental building block of good design. Its one of the first things any visual designer is taught. It can transform a design.

2. Limit Your Text. Use Images to Convey ideas: People have short attention spans, especially now. We are constantly bombarded with so much information! Reduce your text and try to use visual imagery. Find photos that tell your story, or invoke a feeling. Make sure the images are appropriate for your target audience, your message and mood.

3. DO Not Use Too Many Fonts: Limit your fonts to no more than two. When pairing fonts, try a script font with a simple font or a classic font with a simple font. But more importantly, use fonts that reflect your message or mood. 

4. Keep the Mood Appropriate: Color choices, font styles and other elements give your design a mood. Serious, playful, sophisticated, etc. Make sure your design choices create a mood that matches the purpose of your design and fits your audience.

5. Organize Your Layout With Guides: Guides help structure your design elements keeping text, photos and other objects into organized sections, and columns so that your design has a consistent look. Design should be well thought out not haphazard. Guides are put in place to provide that structure.

6. Keep your Text Within the Margins: Create a 1.5 cm margin along all the sides of your layout. Make sure your text or images do not extend beyond that margin. There are exceptions to this - if you want an image, shape or background to extend to the edges of your design. 

7. Color & cultural design considerations: Color can have far reaching and sometimes unintentional effects on your readers. When working with color, remember to think about context and how color is used with other elements such as text and photos. For more information see:Colours In Culture

8. Remove The Orphans: An orphan is a single word at the bottom of a paragraph that gets left behind. When finished with your sentences or paragraphs, never leave one or two small words to dangle alone at the bottom. Rework your paragraph by adding or removing a word, or by replacing words with synonyms.

9. Make Sure There is Hierarchy: This means that design elements are arranged, sized and spaced in such a way that it’s clear what viewers should look at first and how they should proceed through the rest of the design. Should their eyes move down the page? Across? From one section to another? What do you want them to see first?

10. do Not Center All Your Text: As a general rule, it is best not to center everything in your design.


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We are SchoolBrand, a young, dynamic organization and recognized leader in education marketing. We bring over 20 years of corporate experience to the world of education. Our expertise is in telling compelling stories that people want to become part of. It's our job to create a recognizable tone of voice that sets you apart in a crowded marketplace and keeps you front of mind at the point of decision.

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