Effective Design and Presentation Part I

Good design is attention grabbing, raw, and powerful but what makes it “good” design is its adherence to the principles of design. These key components enhance the design itself, but also the experience for the viewer. However, effective design means nothing if the presentation is not effective as well.

What Is Composition?

Composition is the overall arrangement of a work including the subject matter and other elements. Abstract works do not have a subject or background, but composition is still a very important factor. The goal of composition is to draw the viewer’s eye to the right parts of the work and highlight important information whether that information be visual or written.

So, how can you incorporate composition?

Focus, Focus, Focus

The focal point of a work is arguable the most important step toward composition. The focal point is the portion of the work that you want to drive the viewers eyes to the most. For example, if you are painting a portrait, the subject of the painting should be the focus. However, if you obstruct the subject or include other more eye-catching elements that draw focus, you lose the focal point.

Lead the Eye

For infographics, leading lines can be extremely helpful when directing the desired flow of information. While fancy graphics are great for readability, the reader may not be able to instinctively follow your graph. Leading the eye from point to point makes the experience easier for the reader and they are more likely to retain the information.

Scale It

Along with leading lines, the use of scale and hierarchy is crucial to the palatability of your work. Making important items larger or smaller and arranging them by importance adds value and meaning to your work.

This tip applies especially to typography. Think of a legal brief: you use headings, bold type, italics, and font size to delineate the overall idea from the details and the most important information first. The goal of composition for writing is to make the work as skimmable as meaning anyone should be able to skim the work and gather the main idea.

Presentation: The Most Important Element of Design

While good design relies on things like scale and focus, presentation of the design is what makes it available and digestible to potential clients. Whether you are designing a legal brief, brochure, or document high quality paper, ink, and finishing services can take a design from good to great. If the materials used to print the design are of poor quality, the reader could lose interest in it or even develop negative feelings toward the brand.


Whether you are painting a picture, designing an advertisement, or drafting an important brief or record composition is key to comprehension. Without composition, the reader/viewer may have difficulty gathering the main idea of your work and might miss important information.

Design is important whether you are using visuals or words but making the information stick in the mind of your reader is even more important. Join us next time as we cover the second half of composition.

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