This design has haunted me for over two years now. Every time I look at it, I’m baffled that I actually created such a horrific spread! The concept I had when I went into this design was a transition of seasons across the spread, from winter to spring to summer, then fall. However, this was very poorly executed and resulted in a page that was extremely busy and hard to read.
First off, the graphics I choose weren’t great to symbolize different seasons. The snowflakes were too geometric to understand what they were, the hummingbird and seashell didn’t clearly connect to spring and summer, and the leaf just seemed like a regular leaf, not specifically a fall leaf.
Secondly, there are far too many varying design elements on these two pages- there are three different type of bullet points, 4 types of graphics and 4 different fonts/weights of fonts. To fix the basics, one style of bullet points should’ve been used. If the overall design was simplified, I would’ve liked to keep the flower bullet points because they are more unique and fit the angle of the story. As for the problem with the graphics, one option would be to simply reduce the number of graphics and times they are repeated on the page. However, I think the best approach would be to completely cut the graphics altogether and create a new dominant element.
The main problem with all these graphics, is that paired with all the different fonts, they compete to be the dominant part of the page and grab the reader’s eye. As a result, the reader is confused as to where they should look first and what information is the most important to read. If I were to continue using the graphics, I would use them in a much more subtle way to fit in the page better.
The main reason I’m so disappointed with myself for this spread is that it’s like I forgot all about the basic design rules one should follow. I spent so much time treating the graphics, especially the hummingbird and seashell graphics, that I became attached to them and felt the need to fit them somewhere in the design, even though they didn’t fit anywhere. As a result, I disregarded the necessity for a design hierarchy on the spread and simply placed graphics to fill up space and showcase the work I created.
The good news is I learned A LOT from this spread! The moment I saw it once it was published, I felt so much shame because I realized it did not look good at all. However, this design taught me how to really make sure that I follow basic design guidelines and that sometimes I may spend plenty of time on a graphic, but it will not work with the spread. I’ve learned that a lot of designing is wasted time- it’s time full of failed experiments and risks, but that’s what makes someone a good designer. If you always play it safe and don’t push boundaries, you never improve! If I hadn’t gone through this failure, the importance of basic design rules would never have resonated with me as much as it did.
Here’s to another useful lesson learned 🙂