The Lost Principles of Design

Fast access, global demand, short deadlines and quick turnaround have made it all too easy to stray away from the basics of design. If you had a professor in college who taught you design fundamentals, the basics should be engrained in you. If you are self-taught, you may have a book on your desk that you refer to on a daily basis. For the masses, the internet is both a valuable resource, and possibly the source of a design epidemic.

People have flooded the internet looking for design content, and while you might not need to learn the basics before attempting a stellar gradient in Photoshop, there will come a point where this style is left behind and a new style reaches popularity. In history, this lesson has repeated itself with movements like ‘Bauhaus’ and ‘Swiss Modernism’ which will soon label our current trends as part of design history.

The fundamentals of design will never change. They are the glue for design & mastering the principles is imperative for success.


Arranging parts to achieve a state of equilibrium between forces of influences.

Examples: Symmetrical, Asymmetrical, Radial


Interaction of contradictory elements. Expresses the duality seen in opposites.

Examples: Large & Small, rough & smooth, thick & thin, light & dark, organic & geometric

Emphasis & Subordination

Establishing centers of interest which focus the viewer’s attention. If all the elements are given relatively equal weight, there will be no emphasis.

Directional Forces

Both implied and actual, they help guide the eye and mind movement of the viewer. They can also bind the work into a single entity.


The size relationship of parts to the entire work, and each to the other. Very often associated with figural art. (the image shows the Golden Ratio)


The real, apparent size of an object seen in relation to other objects, people, its environment, or the proportions of the picture plane.

Repetition & Rhythm

The recurrence of a design element coupled with a certain order to the repetition. Provides continuity, flow, direction forces etc.

Unity within Variety

The force operating within a work of art which can give it the appearance of oneness or resolution. The consistency of the concept.

When any variety of these principles are combined a design becomes very successful and hard to ignore. That design commands your attention, it guides your eye through and keeps you visually entertained. Combining these principles together is referred to as:

Gestalt — a configuration, pattern, or organized field having specific properties that cannot be derived from the summation of its component parts; a unified whole.

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Increasing Your Productivity


The balance between running a business and being creative can create productivity conflicts. For example, where do you find the time to both promote and create your work? What are the best techniques for managing project stress? The key to most effectively balancing productivity, project management and your personal and professional needs is to find more time and less stress.

Find More Time

Have you ever felt that there is not enough time in the day to perform all of your tasks? Do you ever end the day with a full list of things to do? Do you ever complete the work week with several items still remaining on that list? Do you ever feel you can’t control all the chaos? These are common concerns for all creative professionals. It is a result of an imbalance between work and job and lack of control—yes, control!

As Ed Gold says so beautifully in his book, Business of Graphic Design: A Sensible Approach, “Being successful…does not require one to make a choice between control and creativity…. Creativity’s dirty little secret is that control is not the enemy; control is a necessary ingredient that makes creativity possible. The basic concept is that you have dual responsibilities to control, your work tasks and your job tasks. These are two very different things. Your work is defined as your creative assignments. Your job would include everything you must do to manage your work: project management, promo pieces, bookkeeping, marketing and even a personal life.

You think you are in control when you put your work tasks first and let the job tasks wait until you get around to them. This is backwards and very destructive to productivity. As difficult as it may seem, you must reverse your priorities and control your job tasks first and let the work come in as it will. Why? Because you don’t want important job tasks to be left behind and because work will get done in whatever amount of time you give it or suck all the time out of your life leaving no time to do your job!

Adopting this concept means you must identify all the job tasks by the day, week and month. Include all tasks, both personal and professional. They will range from everyday activities such as answering e-mail, reading trade magazines and finding family time to the periodic tasks of updating a Web site, designing/producing promotional material and taking time off.

Once you have identified all of these tasks, take your personal calendar and schedule them as daily, weekly or monthly actions. Schedule everything! There are two good reasons for this amount of control: The act of placing them on your calendar increases the chances that they will get done; and “lists of things to do” kept in your head are not a good use of your time, energy and attention. In fact, you can concentrate more on your creative (the work) when not distracted by your life (the job).

So despite the seeming contradiction, control equals freedom. Once the job tasks are under control, you can direct your focus onto incoming work. This includes all of your creative work, even taking into account rush jobs and last-minute client requests. These are the clients, deadlines, budgets and projects that arise and sweep away anything else you had planned for that moment–sound familiar? Incoming work tasks will displace job tasks every time. But because these job tasks were already on your calendar, the good news is that they are not doomed to be left behind, just rescheduled.

Address the Stress

Most stress in a creative service business stems from attempts to balance conflicting needs. And stress damages your productivity. You have conflict trying to reconcile your business needs with your client’s wants or from managing your dedication to your work and the desire to spend time with your family. Any of us could compose an endless list of personal and professional stress inducers. The important thing to accept is that these types of stress are normal. To reduce your stress and increase your productivity, try these simple suggestions:

You’ll never be truly caught up, so stop expecting it. There will always be a neverending succession of professional and personal job tasks and client work projects. (You hope!) You must stop looking for the bottom of your in-basket or expecting to see the top of your desk. It only makes you feel like you’re drowning and will never surface. Think of this business as the ongoing rush and flow of a river. Don’t expect a calm and still body of water. Do relieve your stressful feelings with a good time management system as discussed. You will be more balanced and productive when you stop playing “catch up.”

You’ll never make everyone happy. When faced with problems over any project, stop and find the difference between subjective and objective unhappiness. Subjective unhappiness is someone’s opinion or second-guessing, and objective unhappiness is based on accountable and measurable goals or benchmarks for the project. You must make clients happy on an objective level, but you can’t always expect clients to be happy on a subjective level. There will always be clients that want you to jump through imaginary hoops to make them happy. (Sometimes the hoops will even be on fire!) People will have opinions that cause you stress but you have to stop and ask yourself—do you need to do anything other than acknowledge and recognize their opinion? Recognition of someone’s opinion without needing to agree with it will go far to smooth over a stressful situation and restore balance. If you have met all the measurable objectives, maybe you should not be asking “how high?” if no one has asked you to “jump.”

Learn to say no. Stress is often created when you say yes even though all logic and common sense tells you to say no. Production of any creative project is a perfect example; a client makes a production or pricing request and you know that an unqualified “yes” will cause great stress, decrease productivity and reduce profits. Try one of these three alternate endings, “No, but here’s an option to look at” or “Yes, and this is what that will cost” or, simply put, “Let me get back to you.” In each case, you have presented further considerations that will reduce the stress of dealing with difficult situations while keeping up your productivity.

In Conclusion

Take the time—today—to make more time by scheduling some time to start a system. Schedule a day to identify those “givens” and get them on your calendar so they don’t languish in the get-around-to-it pile. Embrace control as a friend and not an enemy to get on a path to creative freedom. Find balance in your life by refusing to play “catch up” and going with the flow. Learn to manage the stress of your everyday life, so it does not manage you!

Redesigning Your Brand

Whether your business is well established or still looking for a strong identity in the marketplace, redesigning your brand can bring considerable benefits.

Simply because your company has an existing identity, it is a mistake to believe it is the right identity. It is important to evaluate whether or not your clients perceive your company in the same way and strength that you do.

Many companies, particularly those with owner/directors who helped create the brand some years or even decades ago, find themselves fighting a battle with that owner/director to leave it behind and modernise – painfully conscious of how the actual clients and wider marketplace perceive the firm. As many will attest, this pride or even stubbornness is a big obstacle and can hold a firm back from expanding in the marketplace; creating an unseen barrier to growth. This is a common obstacle and can be sensitively remedied. It is worth bearing in mind that these owners/directors, if included in the process, can actually be a huge asset in the process, but you must not be afraid to keep pointing out the issues and evidence you see.

Your Brand Positioning

Your brand helps establish or imprint a perception about your firm. Designing a brand for a new company is largely about creating the right first impressions and establishing its perceived positioning. You are creating something for the first time and not incurring the natural obstacles of adapting what’s already there and often been in the marketplace for years. However, redesigning a brand for an established company can help instantly change internal and external perceptions about a firm or help strategically reposition its standing in the marketplace.

Above all, a well designed brand can be a significant factor in how a customer responds to a business whether a market leader or newcomer.

Brand Design

Konjur Creative has extensive experience in designing or redesigning our clients’ brands. By placing your company’s standing in the market in anyone else’s hands shows trust. We take this role very seriously and ensure that we are fully immersed in your company’s ethos.

In many cases it is apparent that a complete redesign is unnecessary but a makeover, without losing its core essence, is needed. In these cases we bring a modernising touch and flair, as well as helping instil current trends, to ensure it remains contemporary and not outdated – perhaps the most common cause for a redesign we see.

Where a complete redesign is desired, we work with you hand-in-hand to establish a creative direction and identify desirable styles, looks, feel, effects and typefaces. We will produce a number of alternatives based around the scope of your brief and this in itself can help focus on what will work exactly.

Contemporary vs. Classic

Many clients today look for highly contemporary looks whilst others desire a sharpened classic style. Every company and business is different and this is where identifying where the current positioning lies and where the desired outcome of the exercise and project is dovetail to create a new direction. It is worth considering that contemporary design is in the eye of the beholder. One man’s contemporary is another’s old hat – the key is to focus on your marketplace and the type of brand your target market would want to engage with or react to more readily.

Ultimately, the image you present to your customer needs to resonate with your business’ philosophy and strategic plan. Brand recognition is the priority, and making an already established brand even more ‘desirable’ will help establish greater awareness amongst current and future clients.


In establishing the brand’s design direction you may consider a theme to incorporate, such as ‘eco-friendliness’, bringing added depth to your identity and perhaps resonating in a new dimension with your clients – helping you stand out from the marketplace and your competitors.

New Brand Recognition

In redesigning your brand you must always remain focused on how your brand will be received, where and also in what media. At Konjur Creative we look to develop a strategic plan for re-launching your rebranding campaign, including internal marketing as well as outgoing staged promotional activity, such as; PR, advertising, sponsorships, stationery and literature updates and e-campaigns. We aim to make an impact in letting your customers know about your change.

Foremost, renewed brand recognition is the utmost priority, and we are entirely confident in making your already established brand more likeable. Let us know if you would like to start the process of redesigning your brand or would like to just consult on the idea of it! replica tag heuer grand carrera
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7 Basics to Create a Good Design Brief


There are a number of basic parts that any good design brief includes. Getting on the same page about each of these in the brief makes the process much easier. A comprehensive, detailed brief becomes the guiding document for the entire design process, and spells out exactly what the constraints of the project are and what information is need to do it. In this article we’ll examine the basics needed for a great design brief which should help ease the design work and avoid any problems during the creative process. Here are the most basic parts of a design brief:

  1. Objectives and Goals of the new design
  2. Budget and Schedule
  3. Target Audience
  4. Scope of the Project
  5. Available Materials/Needed Materials
  6. Overall Style/Look
  7. Any Definite “Do Nots”

1. Objectives and Goals

The first thing that needs to be established are what the objectives are for the new design. Is this a redesign or reworking of an existing design, or is it a completely new design? Does the client have any solid ideas for what they want their project to do or are their ideas more vague? Nailing down what the goals are is important to creating a design that will be successful.

2. Budget and Schedule

Budget can be a touchy subject for some. A lot of clients feel like if they share their budget before receiving a quote, they will be overcharged or be charged the maximum amount for the least amount of money. The misconception is that by knowing ahead of time what kind of budget is being worked with, a designer can tailor services to give the customer the most benefit for their money.

Schedule is almost as important as budget. Some clients have no idea how long it takes to design a great design. They don’t understand that good design takes time, and that it’s not just a matter of creating a pretty picture. Sometimes there are certain deadlines to meet, because of events happening with their company or industry. They might have an upcoming product launch or trade show and want their new site ready for it. It’s important to find out what needs to fit within a certain schedule and whether that schedule is flexible or not.

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