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Refine the Design, Ep. 1: Event WhatsApp Status

Welcome to our new series: Refine the Design.

Small revisions - big improvements.

Follow along as I take a real-life design, point out it's faults and improve it with simple steps. Experience is the best teacher. Through these scenarios you can soak in the experience of another designer. These are simple steps that anyone can learn from and apply to their own designs, and which will dramatically improve your work.

These are based on a real life experiences, but text, colors and imagery have been changed to maintain the anonymity of the designer, client and campaign.


The problems:

1. Lack of hierarchy

Every element (or cluster of elements) is approximately the same size, so your eyes don’t know where to look. They drift around aimlessly. There’s no focal point. A design’s hierarchy and contrast should guide the viewers eyes from point A to point B in a logical, strategic order.

2. CTA is getting lost

The CTA (call to action) is in a good spot on the bottom, but because of the design it doesn't stand out at a glance. There's a lot of text in this design so since the CTA is styled the same way as everything else, it isn't particularly noticeable. It needs more contrast to make it stand amongst all the competing elements.

3. Unbalanced negative space

You always hear about how important negative space is - and that’s true. But you also have to be cognizant of the shapes your negative space creates. Throughout the page the elements are center-aligned but the visually-heavy guest circle is hovering on the left, dangerously close to the margins, making the page unbalanced.



The Solution:

1. Enlarged the headline

The headline, in this case the name of the webinar, is the main draw for the audience. The first step is to make sure the headline stands out front and center. I therefore pushed the words onto three lines instead of two so that the group could get larger without hitting the edges of the page.

2. Created contrast in the subhead

I put the subhead, Virtual Webinar, into a bar in reverse so that it can be near the headline and still clearly separate from it. This way it stands out instead of getting lost and it's clear to viewers what the ad is about.

3. Removed one of the two circles

I took the "special guest" out of its circle and instead made it into a line of text with an image faded next to it. This way it no longer competes with the other circle, unbalancing the design.

4. Adjusted the background elements

The original three background circles are in very small and in the top half of the design. I made them larger and interacting with other elements on the page, adding more visual interest and energy to the design. They also balance out the design by adding more visual weight to one side when there are design elements on the other side.

5. Swapped the layout of the host circle

I changed the "hosted by" section to be horizontal instead of vertical to fill in some of the wasted negative space on the sides and to take up less space vertically - leaving room for other pieces of the design to fit comfortably. It also has the added benefit of placing the 2 headshots on opposite sides of the page, balancing out their visual weight.

6. Highlighted the CTA

I placed the CTA on a reverse stripe to make sure it stands out on the page. I also made the URL larger, in all caps and in a different weight than the preceding text, creating multiple layers of contrast.


Before & After:

Overall, the design went from a chaotic mix of elements, to an orderly listing of information with contrast guiding were to look and in what order. When the elements in the design were fighting, it seemed like everything was too small yet nothing could get bigger. But when you compare the before and after you'll realize that by strategically placing the elements, everything got bigger!

Key takeaways from this design

Pay attention to your hierarchy to guide your audience's eyes in the order you want them to read, by:

  1. Making your headline the main draw for your audience

  2. Having your CTA stand out so it can be effective

  3. Being intentional with your visual weight and balance

  4. Using contrast to differentiate between order of importance


Want some free art direction on your design?

Email it to for the chance to have your design featured! You can choose to remain anonymous in which case your designs will be converted into more generic colors, fonts and typography.


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