No, I’m not being rude and I’m not swearing at you… I’ve just finished reading a book (The Non-Designers Design Book — Robin Williams) and have learnt that “CRAP” is the best way of remembering the four basic design principles: Contrast, Repetition, Alignment and Proximity.
I make no secret of the fact that I don’t consider myself to be a designer. I’ve never done a design course. I didn’t study design at school or college. I don’t look at elements on a page and think “wow, I wonder how I could arrange those to create a stunning visual display”, I think “wow, I wonder how I could semantically mark those up to create an informative web page that ranks highly in Google”. I don’t think of fonts as ways to make a page look pretty, I think of them as simply that: fonts. Typography is — or was — of little value to me.
However, by simply presenting me with ‘rules’ that can be followed to make design more effective, I can think of ways to mark-up elements of my website AND rank highly in Google AND make them look better: tying sections together (Proximity) and creating consistency (Repetition). Creating visual distinction (Contrast) to make important points stand out whilst looking tidy, and flushed together (Alignment). I am brimming with ideas already!
Of course, the problem now is getting them out of my head, and down on paper…