What Not To Do With A Design Layout

When creating a poster, have you ever considered what not to do with a design layout?

In this video, Chris will teach Darian, a self-taught designer, a few tips and tricks to master the design layout he’s created. Chris will cover basic Typographic principles, how to group elements, and he’ll show how to create a healthy amount of negative space in the poster design.

Chris is joined by two designers, Aaron Szekely and Molly Drill, to give their input on the layout through each step of the redesign. We’ll break down the key takeaways below.


Make Room for Negative Space

When a design lacks white space or negative space, it often looks harsh. It’s almost overwhelming to the person looking at the crowded design that they can’t understand the message, or just don’t want to take the time to figure it out.

Negative space is necessary. You need to give the elements in your design room to breathe so that the person looking at your work knows what they’re looking at.

One way to create negative space is to make your elements smaller. If they’re too big, they’re likely taking up way too much space on your artboard or canvas, and leaving little to no room for negative space.

As Chris puts it, “If you have a small room, buy small furniture. If you buy really large furniture, it looks really big and the room feels really cramped.”


Keep the Message in Mind

In Darian’s original design, he had the words, “The Hustle The Grind” as his title. This, to us, communicates some sort of stress, or friction of ideas. Darian’s already off to a good start by choosing red and black for his poster, as these are two colors that usually indicate stress, panic, or danger.

The color, or colors, combined with specific Typography also adds to the message. Darian has chosen a thick, black sans serif typeface that adds to this feeling of friction. Where we lose that, though, is in the body text below the header. With everything being italicized, we lose that sense of fluidity in the layout. There’s also just too much going on with the body copy being two different colors.

Sometimes it takes a bit of playing and messing around with the design to get it right. You won’t always know how the finished product will look, but keep in mind the elements you’re working with and how they could potentially affect the message.


Create Contrast

Contrast is one of the most important principles of design to implement into your work. It creates a sense of balance and harmony. The elements work together to create something that’s visually appealing.

One simple way to create contrast is to skip weights in the typeface. If your title is bolded, then the body copy should be regular, or light, depending on the type you choose.


This video is a cutdown from a previous livestream. If you want to see the entire critique and learn more about Typography and layout, check out the full video here: How To Improve Your Layout and Typography Critique.