Good design is CRAP

It's all about C.R.A.P.When I first began to study the fundamentals of design I ran across a very interesting acronym the gives one the deepest insights into good design: CRAP. An acronym such as this certainly is easy to remember. And indeed to this day, it influences every stage of my design process.

Once you learn exactly why good design is CRAP, then you, too, will see vast improvements in your designs as well.

“CRAP” stands for: Contrast, Repetition, Alignment, and Proximity. And as my chemistry teacher in high school once said, “Etch these onto your forehead so you’ll never forget.”

Here’s an overview of each:


When you apply the rule of contrast to your designs, you are striving to do just one simple thing: if you are going to make two things different, then make them VERY different from each other. Contrast is important because it adds visual attraction to your designs.


Make sure to repeat certain visual elements throughout your design. Some elements include color, shape, texture, size, and even the spacial relationship of objects. When you repeat elements, you add continuity and unity to your design.


Every element on your design should be placed with a clear reason in mind. Every element needs to have a visual connection with every other element. Having proper alignment gives your final layout a clean and sophisticated look.


Rule of thumb: elements relating to each other should be grouped in close proximity to each other. By doing so, you can make several items appear as a single coherent group of related material or information.

The Design & Layout category here on Newbie Website Design will continue to further explain and expand upon the CRAP that makes up good design. In the meantime remember this: you should always be able to explain your reasons for every element on your designs. Never, ever say “I did that because I think it looks cool.”

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2 Responses:

  1. Tim

    Kind of a graphic acronym. But what would you expect from “graphic” design! ;)

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