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By Vincent van der Laan November 10, 2022
The two factors of successful online editorial design
When you analyze a successful editorial design, such as an eBook, you quickly come across two main factors that make the design “beautiful” or "good” — the “wow” factor and the functionality.
They go hand in hand, without exception. And both are often confused. To begin, let's briefly revisit each of these factors.
🎨 “Wow,” the subjective factor
“This looks awesome.” “What a beautiful visual.” “Those colors really pop.”
Your readers are seduced. In a nutshell, it's all about branding & content:
- Colour palette
- Typeface & typography
- Interactive content
📐 Functionality, the concrete factor
“I know what to do.” “The structure makes sense.”
Readers gain confidence. Functionality concerns the layout and UX, which adds up to the format. And it's all about:
- Proximity: Relevance between elements
- Alignment: The flow of information
- Repetition: Presenting information consistently
- Contrast: Emphasize differences between elements
- Interaction: Guiding the readers
So far, it's not rocket science. The difficulty is in keeping the two apart during the design process.
People usually stare blindly at the “wow” factor, but your design can never be successful without good functionality. Readers don't see the content connections and experience the eBook as messy or overwhelming. Or worse, they stop reading because it takes too long to understand the point.
That is why it is often useful to work from course to fine and to start with the things you know for sure. You start by eliminating variables that you have control over.
Ask yourself these 4 questions at the start of each project.
The answer to each is crucial, especially if you reinvent the design wheel every time.
Stop reinventing the wheel
Speaking of reinventing the design wheel, an easy way to stop doing this is by using templates. Templates often get a bad rap from designers. But I believe they are the first step toward successful online publishing. Even if you completely revise a template, this dot on the horizon can still provide valuable insight during initial meetings with a customer and copywriters. By just eliminating the first variables and aligning the strategic goals, copy, and layout within a default editorial format, you save time. That's a win. Plus, if you use templates, you will get to the “wow” factor of design sooner because many settings have already been applied. You will work faster and have more fun, the content will be consumed as intended and, therefore, will resonate better.
Let’s talk about it together!
Share your thoughts on LinkedIn using #TheCraveDiscussion This week’s topic: How do you balance the “wow” factor with functionality in your designs?
Vincent van der Laan
About the author
As a graphic & visual designer, I have turned my passion into my job. When I'm not behind the computer, I make time for refurbishing vintage bicycles and challenge myself to always keep moving. ;)