Hierarchy, not Anarchy

by Kelsie Montgomery

 

I can be a bit of a bookworm. When I read something that interests me, I tend to lose track of time and, on many occasions, I have started and finished a book series in a weekend or less. If I had picked up book two of my favorite series and found the chapters in a random order, it would be rather confusing (a.k.a. I would probably demolish the blanket fort I’m reading under in a fit of rage). I wouldn’t know what to start reading first; hierarchy, visual chronology, is important. It ensures that your story is told and received clearly and accurately, and that no blanket forts are harmed when your story is in the hand of the consumer.

When visual hierarchy is executed properly, the most pertinent information receives the most emphasis, and the eye is drawn to the emphasized subjects in order of importance. Sometimes it can seem like all of the information we want displayed on a piece is equally important and needs to be highlighted, but when visual hierarchy is not done well, the most pertinent information gets lost amid supporting content. 

Imagine if you received an invitation to a friend’s birthday celebration that looked like this:

Pivot Group - Hierarchy Not Anarchy

Confusing, right? This lacks visual hierarchy and we lose the chronological organization we need to consider attending the event. This causes us to feel like we can’t even #IKnowTheresChocolateCoveredBaconButICantEven. If an eyepath is aimless, your story is weakened, cheapened, and ineffective.

Good visual hierarchy is like a fancy five-course meal. The menu is meticulously organized in such a way that each course complements the next, leaving emphasis on the main dish. This results in a complex, satisfying experience that is pleasing to the palette. If each course was identical in texture, flavor and portion, the experience would be boring and the meal would feel heavy and predictable.

This is simple, beautiful visual hierarchy:

Pivot Group - Hierarchy Not Anarchy

http://craftedbygc.com/

This is more direct take on visual hierarchy — the eyepath is straightforward, yet playful and effective:

Pivot Group - Hierarchy Not Anarchy

http://www.anagrama.com/portafolio/204-material-art-fair

Hierarchy, not anarchy! 

Pivot Group - Hierarchy Not Anarchy #DoNotEmphasizeAllOfTheThings #YouAreNotMimiBobeck #Focus 

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