Are Your Graphic Designs CRAP?

Are Your Graphic Designs CRAP?

4 Easy Steps to Generating Superior Creative

Generating eye-catching, beautiful advertisements takes hard work, time and energy. There’s no doubting that.

For sprouting students of advertising, making creative ad designs can seem like a daunting task. A task that can be intimidating and downright anxiety-provoking, especially when you’re surrounded with talented creative individuals.

It’s not just students that find a hard timing with putting out quality design work. Businesses of all sizes: big, small or even a one-person team are expected to have good design implemented.

Fear no longer! With these 4 steps to generating creative, we can get the theoretical basics down. With basic design theory, it’s surprising how quickly someone can make simple changes to their designs that make a BIG difference.


Today we go over the elements of design. The elements of design ensure you follow the correct layout and application of all the different creative elements.


We are going to change the way to see designs in a major way. With every publication you read, every online ad you see, newspaper articles, magazines, websites, powerpoint presentations, resumes and much, much more.

You are going to realize why certain designs catch your eye; why some magazine covers you couldn’t stand, why some logo’s look terrible and on the other hand look downright amazing. It all has to do with the elements of design, or C.R.A.P for short.


Don’t worry! We aren’t going to sit back and expect you to become a master graphic designer by any means just from reading this blog post. We are going to expect you to leave this blog with some key takeaways. Takeaways that you NEED to implement into your creative right away.

C.R.A.P Elements of Design


Contrast is what helps make things really stand out on a design. This is where designers can highlight/showcase the most important, noteworthy thing in the ad. You can highlight any areas of focus like social media follow buttons on digital ads.

Designers should be using bold text, italics, and size to really catch the readers eye. An example with color is when a designer was given instruction to use a black background for an ad to follow brand guidelines.

That designer should use the color wheel to determine what color to make the text. Using the opposite color (on the other side of the color wheel) will make the text “pop”.

In the case of the black background, the designer should use white or another lighter color to make the text easier to read and easier on the eyes of the reader. If the contrast is poor, don’t expect the reader to convert on your ad or spend any time struggling to read it.

We can see a strong contrast used in McDonald’s ads as they use an eye-catching red while using white text.

McDonald’s Big Mac Ad. *we do not own this content. Used for educational purposes


Repetition is what unifies a creative design. A simple example of repetition would be setting a table. Everything at the table should follow a similar pattern. Fork, knife, spoon, etc. Say when you’re sitting down at the table you notice you have a spork instead of a fork. It’s safe to say that’s quite noticeable.

You should have a similar view when it comes to design. The point of repetition in design is to ensure everything flows well together.


Repetition is used in the text by ensuring the design has similar fonts used, text sizes, and styles (italics, bold, etc). An example of this would be making all the headlines 24px, subheads 18 px and bold, You can do this to draw importance to certain aspects of the design.


Repetition in design is also important with things like colour and images. For example, you would want to use a similar colour scheme throughout the design.  You may want to use the colour of a logo in your headline as an example.



Alignment ensures the design is well organized and not a jumbled mess. Aligning the design properly makes it much easier to read, and follow along. Think of it as a comic strip. It leads your eyes to where they should go next. You should ensure your text follows a structure.


For example, this sample ad shows you that everything is centre aligned. The headline, subhead, and ad text are all organized and clean in the center of the design. The white sample logo on the bottom is aligned with the headline. The point here is to remain consistent. It would look awkward if the subhead was aligned to the left of the screen in this example.

Note everything doesn’t have to be aligned in the centre of the design either. You can be just as effective with text aligned side by side, flush left, right etc. The point is to REMAIN CONSISTENT.  


A common tactic used by some artists, designers, and advertisers is to actually purposely misalign elements of the design. They do this to draw focus to certain aspects of the design as it stands out quite clearly when the rest of the design IS aligned.



Proximity is a great way to further organize your content in the design. You use proximity when bunching different elements together. For example, you can bunch a group of related products on a website like bottles of moisturizer.


Placing objects close together shows relatability and connectedness. You wouldn’t want to put the description text of a product far away from the image of it on a website for example. This blog you’re reading right now uses proximity by placing the descriptive words underneath the subheads.


Another way to use proximity is to ensure your design does not look cluttered. You wouldn’t want to have unrelated items close together bunching up your ad. Using proximity helps you stay organized and on topic.


To conclude this lesson, when all the elements of design work together in harmony, an advertisement, poster, magazine cover and essentially any other works of art will really be able to attract attention. Work will be able to stand the test of time, have “the classic look” and more importantly intrigue people to your work.


Follow the elements of design to give your work a more professional, polished, and more importantly eye-catching. Your online articles will be able to see a higher click-through rate, people can spend more time on your site reading entire articles (instead of bouncing right away due to poor design.)

You can improve your designs, even if its only slightly from using C.R.A.P. Give it a try next time you have a design that needs completing. You may even surprise yourself with what you can do (when you follow proper theory.)

If your business needs help generating powerful creative, that follows the elements of design then contact us today. We can help you start, or improve your creative journey and get eyes on your work.


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