Lack of Unity Discourages Reading
Consider a photo of the serene north woods. Visualize it on a poster promoting a resort. If the birch trees nestled by the lake are replaced with prickly pear cactus, the cactus creates visual conflict. Cactus are not native to the north woods, nor do their rounded shapes repeat the vertical forms of the pines. Now this northern wilderness scene appears a bit strange.
The addition of text in several typefaces and bright colors leaves you more confused. You aren't sure what to read first, or, what information is most important. No underlying structure is apparent, and most of the empty space on the page is filled. There is no place for your eye to rest. Elements in the composition compete. Unity has been compromised. Visually overwhelmed, you turn away, ignoring the poster's content—a common reaction to a cluttered, non-unified design.
You admire a pristine wilderness scene and sense nature's delicate choreography. Attuned and refreshed, you feel the movement and you experience her stillness. The image captures your attention.
Instinctively you absorb nature's underlying unity, her spaciousness, proportion, balance, contrast, and hierarchy of elements — a synchronous dance of creativity.
It may not be apparent why the scene caught your eye. Perhaps it was the amber glow of the sunset on the pines, or the translucent reflection of the fading sky. Everything works together in detailed beauty. Each element belongs with everything else—from the rugged rocks hugging the lakeshore, to the canoeist paddling across the water. Nothing appears out of place, and no one element stands out by itself. Visual unity exists. Imagine this photo on a poster advertising a weekend getaway. You trust you will have a relaxing time.
Unity occurs when the details in an image coordinate and complement each other. Everything is harmonious. It is the most significant and fundamental structure a design requires — the primary reason why you continue to admire it. View an example of unity with variation click here.
Unity, or harmony, is the primary goal of any good design solution. The most important information or element must be dominant, yet not dominate the design. Good graphic design achieves unity by placing similar objects together. Typographic detail is handled with sensitivity. Shapes and colors are repeated and white space and text are used in a organized and consistent manner.
You enjoy leafing through a brochure with the considerate use of white space. The need to rest your eye has been taken into account. Skillful use of margins, columns, and sunken heads, contribute to your motivation to keep reading— whether magazine, website, business cards, or packaging.
The effective use of white space:
Typography has a voice and personality. While it communicates information, it also conveys a tone. Typography used illustratively may serve as graphic image in an ad campaign. Its competent use with body copy and heads contributes to the overall visual success and unity of a piece. It determines whether you buy one product versus another, or whether you finish reading a brochure.
Typography implemented effectively connects your marketing message(s) with the interests and values of your target audience. If you plan to sell anything to teens you choose fonts that convey an individualistic and edgy tone. If you market a service to an older female audience, you select typefaces that speak tradition and elegance.
Type can be grouped according to serif and sans-serif categories. Serif typefaces or fonts have little curls or embellishments in their strokes. Examples of common serif typefaces include New Times Roman, Georgia, and Courier. Sans-serif typefaces are plain strokes without additional detail. Examples include Franklin Gothic, Helvetica, Verdana.
Beyond this, typographic voice can be categorized by themes and classified as:
Good design implements typography that best emphasizes and reinforces your design concept.