Is bigger and bolder always better? - radii
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Is bigger and bolder always better?

To answer the question … well, it depends.

Looking at the (quickly thrown together) example above, the first thing you probably read is the simple line “Will you remember me?” It’s also probably the only thing you’ll actually remember… even though it’s much smaller, not bold, is a boring light gray, and is surrounded by “that dreaded wasted white space.”

Now true, bigger can be better — when nothing else is big.

Bolder can be better — when nothing else is bold.

Color can be better — when not everything is brightly colored.

Remember, the point of making something bold is to draw attention to it — to make it different.
And if everything is bold … well, then basically nothing is bold.

Dividing up value on the page

Another thing that is hard to get (until you see it) is how overfilling a page reduces the value of each element on a page. Of course, there are exceptions to anything. But look at it this way — each page in a layout or design has a set value to it, and the total value of that page is divided up among the elements you put on the page (be it words, graphics, photos). By emphasizing elements (using either size, color, weight, or spacing) you shift value to them — giving clear clues to the reader where they need to start and what you think is important — what you want them to remember. Because they aren’t going to remember everything on the page.

And because each page has a set value (i.e. square footage in a home), white space also has value. In the example above, “Will you remember me?” inherits the value of the white space around it … making that line more valuable.

I would also argue that the “white space” you attribute to an element can have more value than other attributes, but that’s for another post …

Sean Sears

I'm a designer. Always have been. 30 years now. Been doing web development for 20 years. I love everything about it - creativity, problem solving, product development, analyzing needs and creatively exceeding goals. I can't imagine doing anything else. Except full-time musician ... maybe. Oh. I also love writing in small, choppy sentences ...