Every year or so I totally change the look of this site and a few other sites I own. Part of that is just playing with some of the new trends, and part of it is I just really like changing the layout. As a kid I re-arranged the furniture in my room every chance I got, and when I got a little older one of my hobbies was building or redesigning small personal sites for myself.
A few things haven’t changed, though, even between the many, many layouts and designs. So here’s a brief list of some of my favourite visual design trends, principles, and techniques that I’ve found myself coming back to over and over.
- Biophilia Effect
The more we surround ourselves with beautiful, natural imagery the less stressed we are and the better we can concentrate. It’s one of the reasons I love visiting U of T’s Mississauga campus, or the aquarium here. It’s the reason nature desktop wallpapers are popular and probably also why, for at least a year, the main images on this blog were of bees. It’s why right now every blog post has a soothing featured image.
- Depth of Processing
This blog has always had reaction images spliced into the content. Inserting reaction gifs and images into content has been popular online for almost as long as we’ve had the internet, but this trend really came into it’s own with the rise of Tumblr. The more deeply we analyze information, the better we can recall it. And for me (and many other people) the best way to add another level of processing is with images.
Personally, everything I’ve ever worked on has looked better when it had bright, solid colours with a fairly high contrast. Typically I like cool colours, analogous colour pairs and a high level of brightness and saturation. They tend to grab attention more than low-saturation, low-brightness colours. And the thing is, we know people prefer to look at visuals than to read text. The text will always have great content, but first you have to get someone to actually look at it.
These are three of my favourites, but over the next few weeks I’ll look at a few more. And of course, throw some more images up in between paragraphs.