standing out, fitting in

“Just to make this stand out” is to design what “Trust me. This is going to work” is to buddy movies. Both phrases tend to lead to fiascoes of one kind or another.

Making things stand out – i.e. making things clash with their surroundings – can be a crucial part of design, but too often results in king of the hill outcomes where elements fight with one another, each competing to stand out.


Design shouldn’t just tell your audience what’s important. It should clearly convey what’s most important. It’s a two sided process that affects everything: for one thing to stand out, twenty others to have to fit in. The more rigorous your planning process of deciding your priorities, the crisper, more vibrant, and more accessible the end result will be.

Less is more.

Eric Shew is a graphic designer and front end developer living in Bellingham, Washington.

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115 West Magnolia, Suite 210
Bellingham, WA 98225

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