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The Maranda Writes

You HAVE the Right to know!!

Now I know seeing C.R.A.P. can immediately send your mind to the gutter with instant unmentionable images. But let me save you by pointing your attention in the RIGHT direction. C.R.A.P is an acronym created by Robin Williams (not the notoriously funny actor) that stands for contrast, repetition, alignment and proximity. The term first appeared in a design book authored by Williams titled, The Non-designer’s Design Book. Since then it has become the “holy grail” of design layout and structure for all design print material in all fields. I first learned about the term in my PRCA 3339 (Public relations publications) course I took at Georgia Southern University.

Although all design points are important, the repetition design principle, in my opinion is the essential design structure that does the most to grab a reader’s attention. When a reader looks at any document the first thing they notice is how visually appealing it is. No one is going to want to read something with multiple font styles and random colors. Creators of these documents can sometimes lose the topic or theme in the chaos of the design. Repeated colors, shapes, size, font, texture and style are all elements of repetition. It can even be used to highlight or group information. For example, all headers might be in 14- point font to illustrate the importance, while 12 -point font used for the body. Words to the wise, if you cannot identify at least three elements that are the same in your design that means are lacking repetition. Below are some helpful guidelines to use in repetition.

  • Limit fonts styles to 3
  • Repeating certain elements in a page is a visual trick designers use to control a reader’s eye and how the reader’s attention moves down or across the page
  • Repetitive elements may be a bold font, a thick rule (line), a certain bullet, color, design elements, particular format, shapes, spatial relationships, etc

For more C.R.A.P. visit the useful sites below

Robin Williams official web-site


“You Do have the right to know!”



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