Today I was reading about the value of having “go-to” combos for creating structure in design work.
“Your ‘go-to’ combos are there to give you confidence.
They have enough structure to be repeatable, but they aren’t so restrictive that your design ends up looking like everyone else’s.” – David Kadavy, author of Design for Hackers
One of my own “go-to” combos in print design is a “strategy of threes”.
Whether it’s considering primary, secondary and tertiary elements in a magazine ad, or arranging products in a 3×3 (9-grid) concept on a catalog page, it gives an initial structure that’s easy to process.
When I started learning web design, I found a tutorial that presented content similarly with 1. a header element, 2. a sidebar, and 3. a set of three clickable images that lead to other pages.
Starting with a basic structure keeps things from getting overwhelming in the beginning. From this stage it’s then easier, once you’ve got a good understanding of the process, and a clear idea of project goals, to move on to a more diverse “toolbox” where needed.