I found this magazine ad for the Nike 123 marathoner shoe online, and I was immediately drawn to its bright colors. As someone who loves running and buying new shoes, I decided that this would be the advertisement I would use to help me think about design principles.
Although the rules of design dictate that the use of too many colors can clutter an image and make it appear too busy, I think that in this case, Nike’s use of color creates a feeling of excitement and energy and the solid black background prevents the image from being overwhelming to the viewer.
It also combats over-stimulation by keeping the font face the same throughout the entire ad. It uses a playful bubble-lettered font that is easy to read and meshes well with the other curved lines and circular shapes throughout the shoe.
At first, it seems like the advertisement does not adhere to the principle of uneven spacing, placing the shoe directly in the middle of the frame. However, upon closer inspection, the splash of color in the bottom left corner creates an off-center balance to the piece that adds visual interest and does give a sense of creativity to the whole ad ( Krause 19).
In addition, the design uses repetition to create calm and harmony, even in a very bright and in your face image. The repeating colors of green, pink and blue guide the eye through different parts of the advertisement and make it easy on our brains. The only color that may seem out of place is the purple Nike logo. However, it is clearly meant to stand out right in the middle of the frame and remind us of who’s selling this shoe.
Furthermore, it reminds us what the product exactly is several times through subtle theme and grouping techniques. The shoe is called the 123 marathoner. We see these numbers in written and numerical form inside the shape of a shoe, and we’re reminded that it “breaks tape” in April 2011. By creating a theme of these three numbers associated with running, it reinforces the idea that if you’re a runner, this is the shoe for you. Another design principle, used primarily by websites, is that the goal or message of the site should be clear. In the case of this advertisement, the goal smacks you right in the face with a giant silhouette of a shoe that you should most definitely buy. However, the details are a bit more elusive. It is up to the viewer to determine from visual clues that this is a running shoe, and that it is meant for long distance running.
The presentation is decisive, placing the shoe in the center of a large empty space focalizes the attention towards it. It takes into account not only color but the values of color weighted up against each other, using the contrast of bright versus dark to draw attention. Overall, the advertisement implements a number of design rules and strategies to create a compelling graphic design with a strong message.
Going to School
My own pursuit of using the principles of design for the purposes of message design turned out to be a lot of fun. At first it was a little bit frustrating to work with digital tools to work my designs, but after a while I became more confident using Canva, an online graphic design tool to create my very own music festival poster. I chose this exercise because it requires a lot of work with colors. It’s a fun audience and my biggest goal was to create a visually interesting piece.
As you can see, I got more confident towards the end and decided to use an entire photo in my design. I did my best to keep the color scheme within the same grouping for each poster. However, I think my favorite piece is still the first poster I did because of it’s simplicity. I think the spacing makes it less crammed and more easy to read. It keeps the focus on the information itself, rather than the visuals surrounding it. I tried to use the Nike ad as inspiration and use a color pop for the music festival logo.
I also chose to redo a recruitment banner I designed for my fraternity, after concluding that it was just way too busy. The new design simplifies the entire banner and makes it easier to read. It also makes use of white space, a principle emphasized by Margaret Kiernan in her interview with our professor. However, it maintains visual interest by making the background a deep purple color. I think that the changes make it more accessible to the viewer and make better use of the visual space.
The new product gets the message of the banner across more quickly and also makes it easier to read by limiting the number of fonts in the piece. A passerby would be more likely to remember the information and webpages without the overcrowding of other information and wordiness surrounding it. I think that this design could also easily function as a business card. I look forward to improving my designing skills throughout the rest of the semester. I’ve already seen a great improvement in my intuitive design skills after learning about the basic principles.