Ask any designer what one basic way to improve any design is and odds are they’ll tell you CRAP. Don’t worry! They aren’t disappointed you asked – they are giving you a tip! CRAP is an acronym standing for Contrast, Repetition, Alignment, and Proximity. In general, this is a surefire way to keep anything you want to put out looking professional. Here’s a bit of explanation:
Notice how the C above is split into two colors that you can easily tell apart, or how the heading directly above this line is larger? This creates easily discernible elements within a document or design. It separates content and allows for readability.
Throughout our website, we use the same font and same heading styles. We also have a constant header and footer you see above and below each page’s content to let you know you are on the same website. These are all examples of repetition, or repeating design instances throughout a larger project. It keeps things looking clean and allows viewers to easily tell that they are viewing the same resource.
Simply put, it doesn’t look good to have some text on a “baseline” and some floating seemingly nowhere. Notice in the graphic above we placed each letter and word on the same line as its related content. Also notice that everything on this page is aligned to the left. This creates a design which is much easier to consume than one that seemingly floats elements randomly.
See? This is odd.
Proximity is an easy way to differentiate related and non-related elements from eachother in any given layout. It wouldn’t make sense for us to put some notes on contrast below this paragraph, right?
We hope this helps you in going forward with creating visuals. This can be applied to images and videos, too!