Where Do I Look? Visual Hierarchy in Graphic Design

Do you want to create designs that leave a significant visual impact? Of course, you do! Here are two words that may help you: visual hierarchy. By definition, visual hierarchy is the order in which a person perceives what he or she sees. The order is created when there is a visual contrast between various objects. Elements that stand out in a design are the first in the hierarchy, while supporting elements are next in the order.


But how do I create visual hierarchies?

In order to create visual hierarchy in a design, it’s essential to come up with an effective layout for both print and screen. A graphic designer must make careful design decisions when laying out information on a canvas in order to not only simplify the transmission of information, but also to make the process of reading a message enjoyable and memorable.


5 Tips in Creating Visual Hierarchy

Understand the copy

In graphic design, it’s crucial to understand the meaning of the copy. Read through and understand what the words say—you’ll be surprised by how many ideas you can get! Understanding what your copywriter is saying is vital in learning the order and importance of each piece of information. There are words that are more significant than others, demanding greater emphasis.



Choose fonts wisely

Typography plays a crucial role in visual hierarchy. You should know by now that typeface, point size, tint, weight, letter spacing, line spacing, and general spatial distribution are important because they affect how the audience perceives text. Understand the connotations of different typefaces: large bold full-caps sans serif types are loud and highly visible but are also used to suggest danger.




Mix it up! Combine typefaces

Mixing and matching fonts can create visual contrast. Use your visual judgment in combining fonts; some typefaces are more noticeable than others, creating visual hierarchy.




Color, of course!

At the risk of stating the obvious, color has a role to play in creating visual hierarchy. Bright and vibrant colors attract, softer and paler colors subdue detail. Colors can also be used to bring out meanings commonly unnoticeable to a reader by choosing a vibrant color to emphasize elements that readers don’t tend to focus on.




Grids are your friends

Grids play a vital role in providing framework and structure in a design. Grids group together information of the same relevance, and also divide your work in order to bring cohesion and improve legibility.