According​ ​to​ ​his​ ​website​ ​(,​ ​nd),​ ​Don​ ​Norman​ ​is​ ​the​ ​director​ ​of​ ​the​ ​newly​ ​established,​ ​The Design​ ​Lab,​ ​at​ ​University​ ​of​ ​California​ ​in​ ​San​ ​Diego.​ ​He​ ​is​ ​probably​ ​best​ ​known​ ​for​ ​his​ ​books​ ​on design,​ ​especially​ ​The​ ​Design​ ​of​ ​Everyday​ ​Things.
In​ ​his​ ​book​ ​”The​ ​design​ ​of​ ​everyday​ ​things”​ ​he​ ​highlights​ ​seven​ ​design​ ​principles​ ​that​ ​industrial​ ​and product​ ​designers​ ​can​ ​use,​ ​but​ ​these​ ​principles​ ​are​ ​also​ ​applicable​ ​to​ ​designers​ ​of​ ​all​ ​disciplines.

Provide​ ​the​ ​Necessary​ ​Knowledge

Gyömrei, A. (2014) VitaPack

Norman​ ​points​ ​out​ ​in​ ​his​ ​first​ ​step​ ​that​ ​when​ ​you​ ​create​ ​something​ ​you​ ​should​ ​make​ ​the usage​ ​or​ ​function​ ​of​ ​that​ ​product​ ​or​ ​design​ ​is​ ​known​ ​or​ ​even​ ​obvious.​ ​​ ​Your​ ​design​ ​should not​ ​hide​ ​its​ ​function​ ​but​ ​make​ ​it​ ​obvious. ​
​​“Well-designed​ objects are easy​ to​ interpret and understand. They contain​ visible clues​ to their operation”​ (Norman,1988).

Norman​ ​(1988)​ ​claims​ ​that​ ​knowledge​ ​comes​ ​from​ ​two​ ​places​ ​the​ ​“world”​​​ and​ ​the​ ​“head”. Either​ ​the​ ​product​ ​is​ ​something​ ​you​ ​know,​ ​like​ ​opening​ ​a​ ​bottle​ or​ ​it​ ​has​ ​clear​ ​instructions on​ ​how​ ​to​ ​use​ ​the​ ​product,​ ​tear​ ​here​ ​to​ ​open​ ​the​ ​packet.
When​ ​you​ ​design​ ​packaging​ ​for​ ​example,​ ​always​ ​make​ ​sure​ ​that​ ​you​ ​provide​ ​the​ ​knowledge or​ ​instructions​ ​but​ ​be​ ​careful​ ​not​ ​to​ ​make​ ​the​ ​instructions​ ​to​ ​complicated.​ ​Mark​ ​on​ ​the packaging​ ​if​ ​it​ ​should​ ​be​ ​cut​ ​open,​ ​tear​ ​open​ ​or​ ​if​ ​there​ ​is​ ​a​ ​flap​ ​and​ ​a​ ​perforation​ ​that needs​ ​to​ ​be​ ​punched.


Naked waitresses:Now that we’ve got your attention (Picture: Murpheister75/Imgur).

Norman​ ​(1988)​ ​suggests​ ​you​ ​keep​ ​your​ ​instructions​ ​simple​ ​and​ ​to​ ​the​ ​point.​ ​No​ ​one​ ​needs a​ ​user​ ​manual​ ​to​ ​know​ ​how​ ​to​ ​open​ ​a​ ​box​ ​of​ ​cereal​ ​or​ ​how​ ​to​ ​apply​ ​a​ ​hair​ ​product.​ ​Consider short​ ​step​ ​by​ ​step​ ​instructions​ ​or​ ​a​ ​simple​ ​infographic​ ​to​ ​inform​ ​the​ ​consumer​ ​how​ ​to​ ​use the​ ​product.
On​ ​sale​ ​promotion,​ ​banners​ ​or​ ​point​ ​of​ ​purchase​ ​sales​ ​make​ ​sure​ ​the​ ​message​ ​of​ ​the promotion​ ​is​ ​clear,​ ​the​ ​date,​ ​how​ ​long​ ​the​ ​sale​ ​or​ ​promotion​ ​is​ ​on​ ​and​ ​mention​ ​the​ ​terms​ ​or conditions.

Norman​ ​(1988)​ ​points​ ​out​ ​how​ ​the​ ​digital​ ​clock​ ​was​ ​a​ ​design​ ​solution​ ​to​ ​the​ ​analogue​ ​clock because​ ​it​ ​is​ ​simple​ ​to​ ​read.​ ​The​ ​same​ ​with​ ​Velcro​ ​shoe​ ​fasteners​ ​that​ ​are​ ​the​ ​answer​ ​to​ ​the difficulty​ ​of​ ​tying​ ​shoelaces.

Show​ ​How​ ​to​ ​Use​ ​a​ ​Tool​ ​and​ ​Explain​ ​its​ ​State

Juice Penny (2002)

There​ ​is​ ​nothing​ ​worse​ ​than​ ​a​ ​badly​ ​designed​ ​website​ ​that​ ​is​ ​difficult​ ​to​ ​navigate​ ​and​ ​even worse​ ​to​ ​understand.​ ​According​ ​to​ ​Norman​ ​(1988),​ ​users​ ​want​ ​to​ ​know​ ​how​ ​to​ ​make something,​ ​in​ ​this​ ​case,​ ​a​ ​website,​ ​do​ ​what​ ​they​ ​want​ ​it​ ​to​ ​do.
If​ ​you​ ​are​ ​in​ ​a​ ​website​ ​wanting​ ​to​ ​book​ ​concert​ ​tickets,​ ​there​ ​is​ ​nothing​ ​more​ ​annoying​ ​than not​ ​knowing​ ​how​ ​or​ ​when​ ​to​ ​pay​ ​for​ ​your​ ​tickets.​ ​You​ ​need​ ​to​ ​understand​ ​the​ ​purpose​ ​of every​ ​tab​ ​on​ ​the​ ​website​ ​and​ ​make​ ​sure​ ​it​ ​does​ ​exactly​ ​what​ ​the​ ​viewer​ ​expects​ ​it​ ​to​ ​do.

It​ ​is​ ​also​ ​important​ ​to​ ​understand​ ​the​ ​state​ ​the​ ​user​ ​finds​ ​him​ ​or​ ​herself​ ​in.​ ​Does​ ​your website​ ​indicate​ ​where​ ​you​ ​are​ ​by​ ​a​ ​change​ ​of​ ​tab​ ​colour,​ ​or​ ​maybe​ ​the​ ​words​ ​became bold?​ ​No​ ​one​ ​likes​ ​being​ ​lost,​ ​especially​ ​on​ ​a​ ​website,​ ​prevent​ ​this​ ​by​ ​indicating​ ​the​ ​state your​ ​viewer​ ​finds​ ​themselves​ ​in.

Map​ ​Correctly

New York Times documentary, Obit (2016)–247308?utm_content=Main&utm_campaign=SF&utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=SocialMarketing

Our​ ​human​ ​minds​ ​naturally​ ​map​ ​things​ ​out​ ​or​ ​follow​ ​an​ ​implied​ ​path.​ ​In​ ​graphic​ ​design,​ ​we call​ ​these​ ​implied​ ​lines​ ​or​ ​visual​ ​cues.
When​ ​you​ ​are​ ​in​ ​charge​ ​of​ ​doing​ ​the​ ​layout​ ​for​ ​a​ ​newspaper​ ​you​ ​would​ ​always​ ​put​ ​the​ ​most important​ ​advert​ ​or​ ​news​ ​article​ ​on​ ​the​ ​3​rd​​ ​page.​ ​Our​ ​natural​ ​instinct​ ​is​ ​for​ ​your​ ​eye​ ​to​ ​shoot to​ ​that​ ​page​ ​automatically.​ ​This​ ​page​ ​needs​ ​to​ ​be​ ​bold​ ​and​ ​eye​ ​catching​ ​to​ ​help​ ​the​ ​reader along.
The​ ​same​ ​rule​ ​goes​ ​for​ ​article​ ​layout​ ​or​ ​any​ ​designs​ ​with​ ​heavy​ ​text.​ ​Type​ ​hierarchy​ ​leads your​ ​reader​ ​through​ ​the​ ​article;​ ​your​ ​type​ ​hierarchy​ ​maps​ ​out​ ​the​ ​order​ ​in​ ​which​ ​the​ ​reader will​ ​read​ ​the​ ​text​ ​and​ ​receive​ ​the​ ​information.

Use​ ​Constraints

Ward, C. (2011) Good Typography is invisible.

Just​ ​because​ ​we​ ​have​ ​an​ ​amazing​ ​colourful​ ​colour​ ​wheel​ ​with​ ​any​ ​colour​ ​under​ ​the​ ​sun​ ​to​ ​choose​ ​from does​ ​not​ ​mean​ ​you​ ​should​ ​use​ ​every​ ​single​ ​colour.​ ​The​ ​same​ ​rules​ ​go​ ​for​ ​typefaces.​ ​Be​ ​selective,​ ​and make​ ​sure​ ​you​ ​choose​ ​the​ ​correct​ ​typeface​ ​and​ ​colour​ ​for​ ​your​ ​design​ ​to​ ​ensure​ ​you​ ​send​ ​the​ ​correct message.
Constraints​ ​become​ ​significantly​ ​useful​ ​when​ ​designing​ ​for​ ​a​ ​business​ ​with​ ​existing​ ​branding.​ ​The company​ ​would​ ​have​ ​their​ ​design​ ​manual​ ​in​ ​place,​ ​and​ ​you​ ​as​ ​a​ ​designer​ ​would​ ​have​ ​to​ ​implement these​ ​constraints​ ​to​ ​create​ ​designs​ ​that​ ​speak​ ​to​ ​the​ ​company’s​ ​target​ ​market.

Expect​ ​Errors

O’Rourke, A. (ND)

No​ ​matter​ ​how​ ​detailed​ ​or​ ​well​ ​designed​ ​your​ ​product​ ​is​ ​some​ ​people​ ​will​ ​fail​ ​in​ ​using​ ​or​ ​reading​ ​it​ ​in​ ​an intended​ ​way.
There​ ​will​ ​always​ ​be​ ​someone​ ​who​ ​will​ ​open​ ​the​ ​box​ ​upside​ ​down,​ ​or​ ​will​ ​force​ ​open​ ​packaging. According​ ​to​ ​Norman​ ​(1988),​ ​most​ ​errors​ ​are​ ​either​ ​“slips”​ ​or​ ​“mistakes.”​ ​Slips​ ​are​ ​automatic, unconscious​ ​errors.​ ​Mistakes,​ ​in​ ​contrast,​ ​are​ ​conscious​ ​actions,​ ​usually​ ​involving​ ​having​ ​the​ ​wrong goal,​ ​or​ ​having​ ​incomplete​ ​or​ ​misleading​ ​information.

Consider​ ​Standardisation

Zahnzinger, M. (2015)
Having​ ​a​ ​standard​ ​brand​ ​user​ ​manual​ ​enables​ ​the​ ​designer​ ​to​ ​design​ ​anything​ ​under​ ​the​ ​sun​ ​and​ ​still stay​ ​true​ ​to​ ​the​ ​look​ ​and​ ​feel​ ​of​ ​the​ ​brand.​ ​Standardising​ ​your​ ​design​ ​leaves​ ​no​ ​or​ ​very​ ​little​ ​room​ ​for error.​ ​Magazines​ ​and​ ​newspapers​ ​usually​ ​have​ ​a​ ​standard​ ​layout​ ​or​ ​a​ ​standard​ ​template​ ​they​ ​use.
In​ ​web​ ​design,​ ​designers​ ​use​ ​a​ ​standard​ ​​width
​ ​ ​for​ ​their​ ​websites​ ​and​ ​a​ ​custom​ ​​length
​ ​ ​to​ ​allow​ ​for scrolling.​ ​Type​ ​and​ ​colours​ ​are​ ​also​ ​standardised​ ​for​ ​the​ ​internet.
Using​ ​these​ ​seven​ ​principles​ ​of​ ​good​ ​design​ ​as​ ​your​ ​philosophy,​ ​will​ ​enable​ ​you​ ​to​ ​create​ ​better​ ​and more​ ​effective​ ​products​ ​and​ ​designs.


Hein Liebenberg is a Graphic Designer and all round DIY fanatic. He is currently a full time lecturer at Inscape Midrand Campus where he lectures Graphic Design. Hein enjoys twitter, anything that shines and architecture.



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