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  • Judah (Design Ninja)

Achieve that Simple Design That POPS with Hierarchy (4 of 8)

Ever been in a meeting where no one was in charge and nothing was accomplished? Strangely enough, Package & Branding Design can elicit the same, confused / time-wasted feeling when Design Hierarchy disappears.

We don’t use the word “Hierarchy” often, but there’s two things you need to know about it: 

     1. It’s insanely important for Effective Design      2. It’s easy to understand

If something seems off with your Package Design, but you can’t put your finger on it… it just might be that there’s Design Mutiny going on!  

Yes, Design Mutiny, where everything in the design is screaming for the “King” position but nothing has the power to overthrow the other competing elements. 

I’m all for democracy, where everyone gets a chance to weigh in equally, but not in Package Design or Branding! 

Quality Design will always have a King, Queen, knights and pawns. 

If ambiguity exists about who’s King, it destroys order, and visual chaos starts to take over. In other words, the Visual Language we talked about here gets muddy. The reader does not know what to look at first and walks away. How sad! 

Literally any graphical element can be used to establish Hierarchy.

Consider these two circles. Which do you notice first? 

Even though they are the same size, color firmly establishes a King. 

How about now?

They are the same color, but now size establishes a King. 

Now you try with these two mock label design examples: 

Which Design elements establish Hierarchy in the first label? 

Conversely, which design elements are missing in the second example?

The information is the same in both labels, but I removed the following Design Hierarchy tools: 

  • Distinguishing colors

  • Sizing

  • Placement

  • Font Styles

The rule that governs Design Hierarchy is easily disclosed by answering this question: What catches your eye first? Second? And so on. 

If you want a clean design that pops, crown a King and demote all the other design elements accordingly! 

Congrats! You’re now halfway through learning the Core Design Principles that deliver quality design over and over. So far, we’ve covered: 


And in the next installment of how to achieve that simple design that pops, we’ll cover Contrast. 

Until then, happy Package Design and Branding!

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