Learn rules you can safely follow

Some designers think that rules are useless because they’re not absolute. That’s nonsense. A rule that works nine times out of ten is useful nine times out of ten.

Look for the rules that designers follow. You might notice that lots of designers do the same thing. You might try and fail to use a certain style, then realise that no-one else tries to make it work. These are signs that there’s a rule lurking. Often designers follow these rules but don’t talk about them.

Ask good designers if they follow any rules. Look for articles online that list visual design rules.

Here are some I’ve noticed.

These rules give you a head-start in visual design. They mean that you don’t lean too far one way or the other on the tightrope.

You may have heard the saying, “no-one ever got fired for hiring IBM.” These rules are safe defaults. They don’t mean that your work is over, but that you get to the remaining 80% of effort faster.

One of the most important color tricks I’ve ever learned was to avoid using the color black in my work.

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