It's all well and good to experiment with shapes and details and cool effects, but if you simply spackle them all over without considering what they mean and how they support or take away from the message, you end up with a jumbled mass of junk that now longer qualifies as design.
Of the two designs below, which uses excessive elements that detract from the message?
It's fun to experiment with shapes and details, but do they support the main message?
Choose typefaces for specific purposes. Restrain yourself! Too many typefaces are distracting. A single type family with a variety of weights and italics should be enough - don't overdo it!
Check out this terrific chart on mixing typefaces. It was created by a type designer and lecturer Alessandro Segalini.
Focus viewers' attention on one important thing first, and then lead them through the rest. Once you capture the audience with a big shape, a startling image, a dramatic type treatment, or a daring color, steadily decrease the activity of each less important item in a logical way to help them get through it.
Make the important text more noticeable by using bold, color, or a different font.
Don't just grab some colors from out of the air. Know what the colors will do when you combine them and, more important, what they might mean to the audience. Color carries and abundance of psychological and emotional meaning, and this meaning can vary tremendously between cultural groups. Color affects visual hierarchy, the legibility of type, and how people make connections between elements. Choose colors that are right, not necessarily those that are expected.
If you don't know how color works - you need to learn.
Do a search on COLOR THEORY. Go to the sites below and READ and learn about how powerful color is to a designer.
LESS IS MORE.
That which is less complicated is often better understood and more appreciated than what is more complicated; simplicity is preferable to complexity.
Use common sense: the more stuff jammed into a given space, the harder it is for the average person to see what they're supposed to be seeing. Plus, it's trashy; anybody can load a bunch of stuff onto a dull message and pretend it's a complex work of art.
Get your camera out and shoot some photos. Create the images you need and make it the best you can or pay someone else to do it for you. Nothing is more meaningless that a commonly used piece of stock photography or clip art that shows up everywhere. Audiences know cheap clip art - so steer clear of the obvious visual solution.
Have you ever heard the saying, center-set paragraphs of type are only for wedding invitations? Symmetrical visual arrangements are generally static and offer little movement. A symmetrical layout limits a designer's flexibility in pacing and dealing with content that doesn't quite want to fit into the symmetrical mold.