The 55 secret Rules in Design and Advertising

The Rule of Eyepath

Never leave the viewer alone! You, the designer, have to control the eye. You do this by using the elements of design according to the principles of design. You stress the focal point(s) and devitalize the surrounding elements to produce an ideal path for the eye. If you follow this rule, the eye follows the path you create, leading to the effect you intend to communicate with your design.

This is of importance when you want to send a message (you do want that in advertising). For instance, when you design a visual ad, you want the eye to consume the image first, then, if existent, the descriptive copy, followed by the product or brand you’re selling. For the simple fact that with visual ads, the image – as an entry point – creates the contextual bubble by calling up an emotion, the copy communicates the value in a more objective manner, and the product, as the exit point, is supposed to remain in your mind, simply because it’s the last object your eye consumes, resulting in a lasting image in your brain.

To lead the eye, we use the following elements:

  • sweetspots,
  • leads,
  • pointers,
  • blocks, and
  • exits.

Notice the use of:

  • the rule of thirds
  • the rule of eyepath (1. sweetspot, 2. block, 3. exit; in the third image, 1 and 2 can be switched). Note: it’s a proven fact that entry points vary for the sexes. This example mainly applies for men; the first two spots could be transposed when a woman views the ad!
  • the rule of interval, demonstrated by the dashed lines in the ads. This is our 5th and final rule of composition:

5. Never make any two intervals the same

This rule is by Greg Albert – artist, teacher and author of this famous book. He reduces all of the above mentioned to one simple rule: never make two intervals of distance, length, spacing and dimensions the same. So actually, it’s not a reduction, but a golden rule to be applied to the use of the elements of design, mentioned in our first rule. Basically, Albert says that if you neglect this rule, your artwork will never accomplish its full potential. This can be for the simple reason that too much repetition (in this case, repetition of intervals) causes brain boredom, thus strips an image of its potential value. If you’re interested in learning more about this rule and its practical value, you should get a copy of his bestseller, The Simple Secret to Better Painting.

Et VoilĂ !

Here you go, these were the 5 rules of composition. I tried to stay brief, but it’s almost impossible to explain these rules in just one simple sentence. There is even room for further posts to cover this subject more thorough, but for the sake of the 55 secret Rules in Design and Advertising, I hope you find this post useful and come back next week when we’re gonna take a look at Part 3: the five Rules of Workflow and Getting it Done.