Navigation Menu+

Bilingual Content Using the Principles of Design

Basic Design Principles Will Make Your Message Easier to Understand.

One of my clients has large Hispanic audience. Many of the print communications created for this client are bilingual, using both English and Spanish in a single document. Often this means the front and back are the same design, but printed in different languages. Sometimes both languages are printed on the same side of the paper, leaving it to the reader to find the content he can read.

How do you engage the reader, make the content comfortable to read, and still give equal weight to the different content areas? It’s all based upon good design. A well designed page organizes information so it is easy to understand. This poster, designed for a new diabetes program at VNA Health, presents a bilingual message while following the principles of design.

Establish a design hierarchy to determine an emphasis in the layout. The most important element in your communication may be emphasized by size, color, or isolated. In the poster, the name of the program and description are larger than the rest of the content, and centered on the poster. The Spanish program name is on the right, English on the left, both incorporating the large word “Diabetes” as part of the title.

Using a large single image has more impact than numerous small images. The English and Spanish descriptions are centered on either side of the graphic. The program name, image, and description are easy to see at a glance.

Unity can be achieved through the use of a repeated element, grouping words together to form a single visual element, use of analogous colors, limited number of typestyles. The poster has English information in the green horizontal bars. The Spanish is next the English, using the same typestyle and size, but not contained in a bar. There is unity in the repetition of the green bar and type at the top and bottom, and how the different languages are formatted. Color in the poster is limited to the cool colors of green and blue used with black.

Balance is achieved through the distribution of elements on a page. White space, or an empty area on the page, also has a visual weight, and can be used to balance out a single element or grouping. The type and image on the poster are centered and balanced, but the typography of program name has an asymmetrical layout. It’s still has balance. and is perhaps more engaging than if all the words were centered.

Elements of Design from matt greenwood on Vimeo.

These are just a few of the design principles used by graphic designers. Want to learn more? Here’s  50 second video created by designer Matt Greenwood, Elements of Design. You won’t become a designer by watching it, but you will have an understanding of the decisions made by a designer. The process might often seem intuitive, but that could be due to the experience of the designer creating effective and pleasing visual communications.

Resolution Creative won a 2014 and 2015 Gold Aster Award for multilingual advertising. The Aster Awards are given for excellence in healthcare marketing.