ITGS Syllabus

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Topic 96

Consistency in design elements by Sam

Consistency in Design Elements… What does it mean?

In various designed works, such as websites, yearbook layouts, books, magazines, brochures, etc… there are often consistent designs throughout the material. This is a technique in designing called consistency. We face works with consistent elements more often than we may think. For example, our text books that we use in school often uses consistency in its design. Often the fonts, styles, colors, and sizes are kept constant for each particular purpose through out the book. The title of the chapter will always have the same font, style, color, and size and so will the actual text of the chapter. Even other than text, sidebars, tables, graphs, cartoon characters, and other graphical elements are often all kept constant throughout the book.

Why Use Consistency?

There are various reasons why designers keep consistency in their work.

By having consistency, it allows people to see that it’s part of a bigger picture. For example, if University of Washington keeps the school colors, purple and gold, throughout its website, as we go deeper in the website we still know that the page we are viewing is part of the university website. On the other hand, let’s say that while browsing the University of Washington website, there is all the sudden a page with green colors rather than purple. If this happens then we are not so sure that we are still in the website of the same university or if we have been bumped to, let’s say the University of Oregon website for some reason. Yes, we can look at the web address and find out, but still it will cause the viewers some confusion.

When consistency is not used in presentations, such as in power point, the change in design can cause the viewers attention to draw away from the actual point that the presentation is trying to make. If, for example, the colors keep on changing each page on a power point presentation, your attention is carried away by the change in color, and you will miss the point and purpose of the power point; how it is important to brush your teeth.

Why Not Use Consistency?

Even though consistency seems to be a great technique in designing, it does have its share of setbacks.

When using consistency in designing, the designer’s ability to freely create the work is limited. When a designer is making his work, he wants to freely express his style and imagination in his work. When there is consistency throughout a power point presentation, for example, the designer is forced to follow the patterns in colors, font and size of text, etc… What if then the designer felt that for example, the school colors weren’t matching the contents of the page. Does he still have to keep those colors just to keep consistency? This is why consistency in design is not always the right method. As each of the contents within pages is unique, it sometimes requires unique designs of its own to present it.

A big reason why people shouldn’t always use consistency is because, easily put, it gets boring. As us viewers see these same colors, fonts, styles, images, etc…, we can quickly become bored of it and lose interest. When we lose interest, we are not getting the points made in the presentation. That is why it’s good to change things up a bit and keep the viewers interested.

So Should We or Shouldn’t We Use Consistency?

There is no right answer to this question. The answer to this question is completely on personal taste. Some people may like the fact that everything is kept constant and in a organized form. However, others may regard it as boring and want more of constantly changing designs to keep the interest level up.


Post a Comment

<< Home