Unlike in maths, one plus one in designing may not just make two. Match just the right vase, with just the right floral display, and the relationship can make a world of difference beyond those two elements.
That’s why, when designers are making artistic decisions, they are using their senses and skills to know what to leave out as well as what to put in. That way they can create online environments that speak volumes. In visual marketing for eCommerce, just like in other areas of design, clarity and simplicity is key, and complications and unneeded intricacy can be counter-productive, however shiny the website.
Remember negative space is also vital. That’s the area between objects, that other people might see as wasted or redundant, but no. Negative space will allow your design to breathe, and it will frame the focus of your design without excess clutter and disruption. Let’s imagine you’re designing a screen with a call to action. The reason for that page is, ultimately, the CTA. The last thing you want to do is to crowd it out in a forest of other things that aren’t important, and remind the viewer they could be looking at other websites.
Design is not as straightforward as a ratio or an equation. You can’t just say that 30% of the free space should be filled, or left empty. It depends on the page, the brand, what’s happening, and what you’re trying to communicate. Good design is a matter of balance and making sense, rather than just ticking boxes. Look, really look, and take in the overall effect that will strike a viewer who arrives at this page.
Remember that there’s only so much that someone can take in when they’re viewing a screen. If you overwhelm the visitor to a site with your complex design, they’ll go elsewhere. You’re not there to try to impress them with your latest technique, unless you can do it so subtly it’s not seen as remarkable – like lighting effects in a theatre. If you’re just trying to score points for innovation, you’ll probably lose them for bad marketing practice. So take out whatever doesn’t need to be there, even if you could easily have left it in.
It can take courage to lose elements you’re proud of in your design, to keep it simple and clear. But editing out your ego, and making way for the content to speak for itself, is a good key to sales. Yes, intuitively, less is usually more.