Reading about design is not near as interesting as looking at examples! In this chapter, you’ll watch several videos that demonstrate design principles at work.

Consider emphasis and arrangement for a moment. What does it look like when these elements are applied in the text? Watch this short video (2:26) for an example.

In your studies about design, you may come across another popular way of summarizing design principles, often referred to as the CRAP principles. This next video (5:16) addresses concepts from the previous chapter, including emphasis, engagement, clarity, arrangement, but uses terms like Contrast, Repetition, Alignment, and Proximity (CRAP). White space is also addressed in this video. Spend a few minutes watching this video to reinforce the design principles explained thus far, and to see additional examples of how these simple principles can be applied to any text.

Ready to really up your design game? Take a look at this next video (10:01) to learn about common design mistakes. If you can avoid each of these, your documents will look much more professional. So get ready to take notes, and use your notes to help you revise your next assignment. I guarantee it will make a big difference in your final product!

As we’ve established, all documents have a purpose—to persuade, to inform, to instruct, to entertain—but the first and foremost purpose of any document is to be read. Choosing an effective document design enhances the readability or usability of your document so that the target audience is more likely to get the message you want them to receive, and your document is more likely to achieve your intended purpose.

Choose document design elements that make your document “user friendly” for the target audience. Keep in mind that people do not read technical or professional writing for pleasure; they read it because they need to! Your job as the document designer is to make their reading process as easy, clear, useful, and efficient as possible by using all the tools at your disposal.

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Content in this chapter was revised and remixed, in part, from Technical Writing Essentials by Suzan Last is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

H5P self-check content on this page was created by Sam Malone for Technical Communication Across the Professions and this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


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