Extensive Visual Design Guide

Visual design is part of graphic design; a methodology of visual communication entirely meant to solve problems through the use of space, type and image. In this article we will be discussing in details about how it’s supposed to be done. In other words, we will extensively lay down visual design guide. Categorically note that in the course of our discussion, which by the way entails 10 points, there will be a two category description; the “should- which will be covering excellent experiences for designers”, and the “could- which entails activities that can be performed to bring in more promising effects”.

Extensive Visual Design Guide

Visual Branding Principles

This basically entails rules of thumb that every designer should incorporate into their work or rather ponder through before putting down the real thing. These needs are fairly summarised in 5 brief reasons, and they include:


  • Deciding relevance- when designing anything, you should always think more like a customer and not the designer. Ask yourself, do I even care when looking at this work, and does it capture anything in me?
  •  Getting an overview- what exactly are the main ideas; rather, what is most important in this project?
  •  Basic comprehension- ask yourself, what text or image can explain the idea I have in mind illustratively.
  •  Retrieving hidden/buried details- come up with ideas that no matter how much someone tries to forget about you work; there will always be something in it that will keep reminding him/her about it.
  • Placing actionable details- once you’ve finished sketching, before getting down to work, ask yourself one last question, “how are people going to get in touch?”


Ways to Present Objects

Actually, there are 3 major ways one can use to represent objects, they include; pictorials symbols, verbal symbols or graphic symbols. It is however entirely up to you to decide which way to use depending on your needs and wants.

Being Creative

This one is an unwritten rule about being a visual designer; there is actually no way you can flourish as a designer without being super creative. Designing visual images especially for instruction requires the ability think and not just to think, but to think visually. A designer is expected to have the ability to actually relate words (verbal symbols) with corresponding pictures or graphical images (visual symbols). Most importantly, do all the above in a meaningful and creative way.

Rule of Thirds

In layman’s language, when talking about rules of thirds, we are basically talking about a principle of graphic and photographic composition in which a segment (an area) is portioned into thirds both horizontally and vertically and their/its centres of interest being located near the intersection of the lines dividing the areas.

Each partition can be used to indicate the number of people that will look at each specific partition when first reading a visual. So you know, research done on eye movement states that people, especially from western culture tend to look (always) to the left hand section of a visual first before turning to other areas. Therefore, when designing, you should always have this in mind; fill the side that will get more looks with important details before embarking on other sides.

Variety of Visuals

Now that you know about rule of thirds, it is obvious that it is essential for you to place important details supremely near the dividing lines and place the main message preferably where the eyes are first likely to strike. This however, doesn’t limit you to a specific form of design, as stated earlier in the article, creativity is of utmost importance and therefore you should exercised your liberty to think creatively but in accordance to this rule.

Amount of Details

You must have heard or experienced this on your own; that too much detail in a visual image can (and often) distracts one from instruction. Always weigh you target audience, if they are younger children, be at ease to use as many details as you can, but for older children and adults in general, limit yourself to only relevant information. Practically go straight to the point.


When it comes to visual design, the layout (plan/presentation) of a visual need to be clear as possible and focused; more attention should be exercised when placing images; (images should be placed in their appropriate places). To start with, you can always use the shapes of letters to actually decide how you layout pattern will be. Concentrate on letters like C, S, O, Z, T, L and U.


If you decide to use labels (which by the way is a wise way of explaining or adding meaning to objects), try as much as possible to move them (labels) close to the objects they are refer to/ explain.


Typography basically entails things to do with shape, size and placement of words. Under this segment, things like fonts, styles, and font sizes fall in. under normal circumstances, only lower case letters are to be used unless what is to be presented needs to be emphasised. Also note that, capital letters if used entirely makes it difficult for one to read, especially if it exceeds one line. Take your time and arrange the words in a manner that will enhance clarity. In a nutshell, regardless of what you decide to do, make your visual completely easy to read. Take advantage of different contrasts and colours and don’t forget to beautifully design the background.


Visualization is actually an act of making your work more visible. To develop your visual thinking, try to visualize facts, numerical data, directions, processes, theories, maps, emotions and such. Also don’t forget to put emphasis on where it’s needed. Simply use different types of sizes and colours to differentiate and put emphasis on items. Finally on visualization, note that different character sizes can be visualized from varying distances.


In summary, and in a language that can be well understood, what this article has been discussing are guidelines to being a great visual designer. Carefully go through everything that has been discussed in this article and implement them without failure. Remember, it is only through practice that we can perfect things. Visual design is an art; an art that needs creativeness, hard work and perseverance for it to bear fruits, so don’t be afraid of work, and always exercise your cool and undoubtedly, you will see things work for you.


Jessica Miller
Jessica is the Lead Author & Editor of UsabilityLab Blog. Jessica writes for the UsabilityLab blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to usability.
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