Design work at London Met must always take into consideration the needs of those with sight or learning difficulties. The following guidelines must be adhered to at all times when you are creating, for example, a poster or leaflet.
- Do not rely on colour alone to convey meaning and always ensure that there is a strong contrast between colours. Read more about accessible colour contrast requirements.
- Do not use red and green as a colour combination as it is difficult for a person with colour blindness to distinguish between them.
- Design elements such as logos and text should never be placed on a patterned background where the contrast is not strong enough.
- Using images in a document can often help support what is being said in the text – this helps our audiences with dyslexia and learning difficulties.
- Where images are placed is also important. Do not interrupt the flow of text with an image as it can make it hard to read. Always allow for space between text and images and avoid text running over images.
- The use of clip art and stock photography can look unprofessional. Use professionally taken photographs of London Met students instead, or infographics and icons in keeping with our style for icons, charts and tables.
- Text and fonts must always be legible. The more legible it is, the shorter the time it takes to read. Be aware that decorative typefaces may not always be readable. Too many different fonts on a page make it look messy and can detract from the design’s overall purpose. There is strict guidance about which fonts we use at London Met.
- Do not use text in block capitals as it makes the letters hard to distinguish when they are all of the same height.
- Do not use underlined text or text in italics as this also affects legibility.
- Avoid hyphenation. Word breaks that occur at the end of a line as it interrupts the flow of text and makes it difficult for those with dyslexia or learning difficulties to read. Hyphenation can be turned off in most computer programs.
- Microsoft have provided some useful guidance in a video on how to make tables accessible in Word.
It covers advice such as ensuring header rows are marked as headers and making sure alt text is added under 'table properties'.
General design principles
- Simplicity is key: Do not detract from your message with too many design elements and ensure that all elements used have a purpose.
- Consider your audience: Is the colour appropriate for your audience? Colours have different meanings all over the world.
- Space: create space between the elements in your design; it gives the eye a rest, defines importance and leads the eye through a design.
- Use repetition to bring cohesiveness: Once you have established a design pattern for your work, repeat it. For example, you could use the circular cosmos pattern from our logo in different elements of your design to bring the piece together.
- Proximity brings unity: Placing related items together in close proximity emphasises organisation and increases audience comprehension.
- Align your design elements: Proper alignment (when every element is visually connected and lined up) looks cohesive, organised and professional.