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Watch step by step as I revise a client design

Refine the Design, Ep. 2 - Motherhood Center Card

Sometimes showing is easier than telling.

So when a pro bono client showed us the design* they made in Canva, rather than explaining to them how to improve it and critiquing it verbally, I just headed into the file to wave my design wand and make it all better.

*details have been changed to protect anonymity

Watch the transformation emerge or read my thought process behind each design decision below.


the original design before revisions

The Critique/Revisions Process

What immediately struck me was that this piece is talking to mothers who are either expecting or have recently given birth and are in a physically and emotionally vulnerable stage of life. Their color and design choices clearly indicate a goal of creating a peaceful vibe that people can expect from this organization.

But, there are some subtle design choices that conflict with this goal and are pulling down the piece.

First and foremost, the scary, pointy sans serif font.

While I see what they were aiming for - classic Futura feminine elegance - there are other fonts that are better suited to achieving those goals while also staying through to the main message of soft, peaceful support.

When I went to change their sans serif font, I noticed the colors - at a glance they seem cohesive since they’re all from within the same saturation palette, but when editing in depth I realized that they used a different shade and hue for each element.

There was beige, pink, mauve, rust, blue, teal, sage, and on.

This is an overwhelming number of colors for just 1 small design. You really shouldn’t need more than 3 colors unless you’re extremely adept at color usage, otherwise decision-making gets more complicated when you have too many options to choose from.

So, instead what I did first was consolidate the color options to just beige, mauve and blue, with 2 tints each for the mauve and the blue to provide contrast for different situations and to stay somewhat true to their initial design decisions. The monochrome nature of the new, simplified palette supports the goal of creating a peaceful ambiance to attract their target audience.

Next, I moved on to the design elements. They had used this interesting ripped edge for their photo on the back which nicely matched the brush stroke used on the front. When you have a design theme that’s working - lean into it.

What wasn’t working was the text overlaid on the photo (the text wasn’t legible enough) and the harsh edge of the footer (it’s harshness takes away from the soft vibe we’re aiming for).

So, I took the brush texture and reused it in both places, making a larger section on the cover for the text and logo, and a footer on the back that matched the rest of the design stylistically. It’s a visually compelling and unique enough element that they could even carry it through to other marketing materials and designs if they chose to, making it a part of the visual identity.

Then, I tweaked the spacing for the icons section to group in a more easy-to-read way. Elements that are close together become associated with each other and mentally grouped together, so you want to avoid having more space between an icon and its caption than there is between one icon and the next one. Otherwise readers will mentally group together the icons instead of each icon with its caption.

Once I was editing the icons, I changed some of the icons to keep them stylistically consistent. It's not perfect because I can't customize the stroke thickness in Canva, but at least they're close.

And voila!


the revised design after critique

One hour of design tweaking and one much improved piece of marketing collateral. And, perhaps most importantly, one happy client.

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