Design Theory: Proximity

One of the basic principles of design theory is proximity. The theory says that the closer items are in physical relation to one another the more they are related, or seen as a unit. As you start thinking about poster designs this week you will probably start by looking at a blank page in InDesign. Everyone’s first inclination is to fill every area of the page with content, spacing the content to take up space. Take a look at this event poster:

event poster design

The information fills the space and there is an interesting graphic element, but if you really wanted to know more about the event it requires some focus. It isn’t clear what information is more important or where to find information quickly at a glance.

If the same imagery and content is rearranged, grouping like information closer to each other and putting more space between different types of information it becomes much easier to take in the information at a glance.

event poster design option

In this design, the information has been broken apart into different content sections. The information at the top all relates to the name and time of the event. It is grouped together and made larger than the other information because it is the most vital information on the page. You want someone to first know what the event is and when it is being held.

Next, the specific information about the cost, location, and contact information is group together. These details are all supporting information and are grouped closer together, but still separated so that it is easier at a glance to tell that the first content block is cost, the second block of content is location, and the third block of content is contact info. This closer look shows block around the information. This isn’t included in the final design, but helps to visualize how the headings and details are grouped together but the content blocks are separated far enough from one another to make it clear what content is related.

content blocking on event poster

So how do you make this work for your own designs? Design is all about content. You first want to decide exactly what information needs to be on your poster. Weed out any information that you think isn’t relevant. Then you want to consider how to organize the information that is left. What information would be logically related? What information is distinctive from the rest? You may also want to think in terms of which is most important.

Related Articles on Design Theory

Tags: , , , , ,