3 Core Factors of Design: Order, Contrast & Reduction

3 Core Factors of Design: Order, Contrast & Reduction

When designing marketing measures such as campaigns, websites, or flyers, decision-makers are often faced with a problem: design decisions are judged too subjectively.

This is simply because there is often a lack of know-how, which successful design for clear communication constitutes. Instead, decisions are made according to one’s own feelings – not always to the success of the marketing measure.

A principle from a book by Tom Moog, which we like to call the triumvirate of design, provides a remedy designate: order, contrast & reduction. These three factors form the classical-artistic triad. They complement each other perfectly. You condition yourself. You need yourself.

We will explain how this principle allows you quick transmission of information in an interesting way and way – and thus more successful marketing measures.

The order: create an overview

It’s actually quite simple: Order creates an overview. Not only on the desk or in the closet but also in brochures, websites, or advertisements.

The order ensures an understandable structure. We feel organized when everything seems to be in its place. This creates structure and calm.

Clear structure through rules

A clear order sorts out everything that does not have a clear structure. This goes hand in hand with rules, regulations, and laws. It is true that there is no general rule or elementary form to which everything can be broken down.

Rather, rules should create the space for spontaneous creativity. Rules provide the framework, which ensures a certain basic order. At the same time, creativity in the creation process must never be restricted.

Order as a way to harmonious design

It’s very simple: chaos creates volume, and order brings calm. Of course, it can happen in the design that you consciously choose chaos. However, the order is usually the better way to achieve targeted customer communication.

Because order gives support, and security and unites all the individual parts into a large whole – an orderly, structured design. In order to create order, you must follow certain laws and rules (a division of space, hierarchies, composition, grid system…).

The order has clear advantages for marketing measures: We can record things that are organized faster and process. Accordingly, your advertising messages are more targeted and understood immediately.

The Deliberate Disorder

As so often, it is important to know the rules in order to be able to decide against them if necessary. Because disorder can also be a conscious method in design.

The disorder is defined by the fact that we cannot see any relationship between all the components. A small mess can z. B. Make a design look more interesting. You can use intentional breaks to emphasize individual elements.

So it’s up to you to decide on a strict or milder order in the design process. Depending on the situation, you can consciously incorporate small amounts of disorder in order to create interest.

Important here: Disorder never arises purely by accident. Rather, it should be a conscious choice that cannot be made until you understand the basic principles of order.

Modularization for more flexibility

In order to continue to act flexibly in the principle of order, modularization is a sensible method. In doing so decompose complex elements into their individual building blocks. These are still arranged throughout the grid.

You can continue to use or extend these building blocks as you wish. This allows you to implement your design more flexibly, individualize it more or specialize it.

The contrast: Build up excitement

The contrast between the young and the adult penguin creates tension and emphasis.

Contrast creates excitement in life. It is not without reason that it is said that opposites attract. Because contrast creates a form of dynamics and thus movement in the mind of your target group.

Stage the suspense correctly

The contrast can set priorities in the design and is a stylistic device that fulfills a wide variety of functions:

Contrast can polarize, i.e. generate a voltage between two poles
Contrast creates separations and repulsive effects
Contrast creates connections, he complements


Contrast visualized

cancelscontrast compares Contrasts are particularly strong when broken down into just two parts. The further apart the contrasts are (light, dark, shades of gray), the stronger they appear.

A design with a strong contrast is automatically more interesting and exciting. The difficulty in working with contrasts lies in creating a counterpoint that is constructed in such a way that part of the contrast is deliberately enhanced. There are two design styles in total:

  • Functional style (factual, clear, simple)
  • Expressive style (emotional, confused, complex )

When designing advertising material of any kind, you should rely on the functional style. This is the only way you can contrast, order, and reduction appropriately and thereby communicate clearly.

Mix contrasts, win harmony

Harmony means bringing different individual pieces into harmony in one unit. In music, it’s the different notes that come together to create a melodious chord. Or several chords that together create a melody.

For your design, this means: The contrasting mix makes the difference! Make sure that all the contrasting elements come together in a pleasing way. In this case, harmony means ordered contrasts – and should always be the goal when designing with contrasts.

Creating contrast through colors

There is one simple rule of thumb: the greater the contrast between the colors, the more exciting the contrast. In order to properly understand the interaction of colors, you have to deal with the basic theory of colors and topics such as complementary colors.

Adobe Color offers a good overview of this. With this color wheel, you can have complementary colors displayed, i.e. those that are opposite one another in the color wheel. These form a maximum contrast and are particularly appealing. However, this is not the only type of color contrast.

Different contrasts can also be combined within colors (e.g. light-dark + cold-warm). Overall, there are various forms of color contrast:

  • Color-in-itself-contrast: different bright colors face each other
  • Complementary contrast: opposite mixed colors in the color wheel
  • Simultaneously- Contrast: optical complementary contrast, in which the eye looks for another, suitable color
  • Cold-Warm Contrast: Comparison of cold and warm tones
  • Light/Dark Contrast: Contrast light and dark ShadesQuality contrast (intensive contrast): contrast of colors with different waistband qualities
  • Quantity contrast (quantity contrast): Contrast of different-sized color areas
  • Chromatic-to-achromatic contrast: colored vs. white/black vs. grey

You may now object that design also has a harmonious effect if the colors are similar and there is no strong contrast. That’s true, of course, tone-on-tone color compositions have a certain harmony. However, they are often boring at the same time. And boredom is the death of any marketing effort. The reduction: do more with less

Less is more: in the interior, the architecture, and also the design for Marketing measures.

The reduction is the last part of our design triad. The aim is to simplify everything purely numerically and to return it to the basics. Reduction creates concentration on the essentials.

Reduce to max

When sending out marketing messages, you should be aware that the target audience’s attention span is minimal. Nobody really wants to actively deal with advertising. It is therefore important to get straight to the point.

This applies to both the content and the form. The reduction makes your design more intense, you emphasize important things and compress your message. In short: It is the restriction to the essentials.

All design elements should be set up in a correspondingly simple manner and used sparingly. The rule here is that each element should have a clear message that can be quickly understood by your target group.

Only through the reduction is it possible to quickly and easily ) transport.

Less is more

Just because you should make things as simple as possible doesn’t mean they should be monotonous. Rather, calm designs with free spaces appear more powerful and positive.

The great art of design is omission. Always ask yourself whether a certain element is really necessary and useful. Think about where you can make things even simpler or possibly delete them.

The problem of relative simplicity

The difficult thing about reduction is that it’s relative. Look at e.g. For example, look at paintings or photographs in a gallery. Art usually exudes a kind of orderly calm. This is created by the reduction of certain El elements are left out or excluded.

Despite its potential simplicity, art is often complicated and multi-layered in terms of content. The reduction ensures that the work of art itself is easy to look at, but ideally, there is a great depth of content behind it. So the simplicity is only felt.

The interplay of order, contrast & reduction

In order to create an appealing design and thus communicate your marketing messages in the best possible way, you need all three factors. Because they are mutually dependent and even support each other:

  • Order provides structure. It is created by the contrast.
  • Contrast creates excitement. For a clear effect, he needs reduction.
  • Reduction creates simplicity. She needs an order and creates it with her.

It is therefore impossible for you to consider and implement order, contrast, and reduction individually. Rather, these three factors work together to enable designs that are clear, simple, and understandable. So the next time you examine a design, first ask yourself questions about order, contrast, and reduction. Then check if these three elements create a big whole that serves the purpose.

Because ultimately every form of marketing communication is earmarked. We don’t create designs for the sake of design. Rather, all decisions are to be subordinated to one goal: To anchor the message as best as possible with the target group. Not more but also not less.

By Ephatech

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