Emphasis: the most important element on the page should be most prominent, the second most important element should be secondary in prominence, and so on.
Visual hierarchy: the arrangement of visual elements such as type and images on the page according to their order of importance and, consequently, emphasis.
Focal point: the visual element or part of a page that is most emphasized and therefore where the reader’s eye goes first.
Accents: obviously accent the other important points in the page
Content: the words, phrases, and graphics
Body copy: the small type
All-caps: designer speak for all capital letters
What you choose to emphasize depends on the content of the message and which parts of the message are most important. You have to decide what information is most important and make it bigger, bold it, or add color. Emphasis proceeds in a logical manner and makes the page more visually interesting to look at. It is important to become more sensitive to the use of visual hierarchy and emphasis to be able to direct the attention of the reader when there is more than one piece of important information. You can train yourself by becoming more aware of what you notice first, second, etc and also being aware of what techniques caught your attention. A well thought out emphasis plan can help you influence what people think of first when they see your design. A clear visual hierarchy of information has a dramatic effect on the reader’s perception of your design. Beware of using all-caps. It gives the appearance of shouting and is difficult to read. Using images can also improve the appeal of the design. Be careful not to overuse emphasis.
Connections to Course Outcomes
Emphasis can play an important role in our class wiki so that we are able to point out the most important information that we want our readers to see. We need to be very careful to make sure that everything is cohesive and we aren’t overusing emphasis because that can draw attention away from what’s most important to our audience. We want our wiki to be visually appealing and I believe that the discussion we had in class allowed us to figure out what would be too much emphasis and what’s the right amount that we want to use for our project purposes.
Graham, L. (2005). basics of design: layout and typography for beginners. (2nd ed. ed.). Canada: Thomson Delmar Learning.