Summarising the PARC Principles

  • Don’t be afraid to create your design with plenty of blank space. Also make sure you have plenty of white space between elements and visual units.
  • Don’t be afraid to make words very large or very small.
  • Don’t be afraid to speak loudly or to whisper. Contrast is an essential element of good design.
  • Don’t be afraid to be asymmetrical, to uncentre your format – it often makes the effect stronger.
  • It is okay to do the unexpected. Try to break out of the box.
  • Don’t be afraid to make your graphics very bold or very minimal, as long as the result complements and reinforces your design.
  • Vary the space between the elements on a page to indicate the closeness or importance of the relationship between elements. Proximity is a central tool in design.
  • To keep an entire page unified, align every object with an edge of some other object.
  • Avoid using all capitals in your titles, heads, and subheads. Also avoid using italics, which are harder to read on the screen.
  • Remember the computer is not a typewriter. Don’t underline a lot of text, or just use open quotation marks. Use both open and closed quotation marks to look professional.
  • Remember that horizontal alignment is as important as vertical alignment. So make sure your text and images are both horizontally and vertically aligned.
  • It takes a very self-assured designer to recognise and act on the power of simplicity. Many great websites are created simply, quietly and with grace.
  • Good design doesn’t have to shout. Beware of getting too fancy and colourful. Aim for restraint and simplicity in your designs.
  • Any good design must have a strong focal point. You can create focal points using contrast and visual hierarchy.
  • Make your message as easy to understand as possible. Organise and chunk your information into segments and sections introduced with catchy headings and subheadings.
  • Try to develop a consistent, unified design that has a focal point and creates visual interest.
  • Visual Literacy and learning to read variations on the Design Layout Grid

Examples to review include:

    • Proximity is used to distinguish different news stories.
    • Also use of horizontal rules to separate sections based on subject.
    • Under image but within bounds are a heading in bold followed by a short summary of news item.
    • When a larger image is used, smaller items that following align within the larger’s left and right bounds.
    • Text sticks to the left vertical of images.
    • Each small image is complemented by a header and then underneath that, some links. These tend to fit within the vertical bounds of the image.

In this websites, it is possible to identify the strong vertical alignments.

  • Visual literacy involves training the eye to see and understand design, layout, images and visual style.
  • Designers develop a toolbox of basic design tricks they have learned by studying good designs.
  • The first real step in learning to become a graphic or web designer involves the conscious development of visual literacy and a keen eye for detail.
  • Without the development of visual literacy, a web or graphic designer is hopelessly lost.





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