There's this acronym, CARP, which stands for Contrast, Alignment, Repetition and Proximity and it's used to help explain some of the fundamental concepts behind graphic design.
Since I'm an Instructional Designer focusing on eLearning materials, what better way to exemplify CARP than with an infographic? How about an infographic on carp which uses CARP? I know, I'm so meta.
When it comes to using contrast in design, the main concept being discussed is the use of appropriate colors working together to create noticeable, eye-catching information. When I look to this infographic, I commend the designer on choosing a great green to contrast against the blue background. It is not straining on my eyes to read the white or green texts because they contrast so well with the blue. The information is highlighted to me.
When I look at how this infographic is set up, I notice each fish's name is displayed along the left hand side margin, the fish are aligned from the right, and the three columns of text remain consistent from fish to fish. This allows me to spend less time trying to associate the images with the text, or wondering if earth worms are the best bait for the perch versus the rudd. This organization is key, since the learner's brain needs to spend as much time on the information and as little time as possible trying to figure out where to look for it.
Repetition, which some refer to as consistency, is all about keeping the same design framework throughout your document. Here, we can clearly see that each fish not only has their information presented the same (thanks to alignment) but that each section also includes the same topics of information (Average Size, UK Record Weight, etc.). Sometimes designers will intentionally break the rule of alignment or repetition to convey an important point over others, but since all this information is of equal value to the learner, it made sense to pick a layout and follow it throughout. If I wanted to know where each fish's habitat was, I would soon get in the habit of looking at the third colum of text, second subsection since this is where the information is for every fish.
I am breaking up this blog post into subtopics or paragraphs so you, the reader, don't feel overwhelmed with too much information placed in one place (one long block of text). The infographic accomplishes the proximity effect perfectly. There's a blue wavy line separating each fish species, and enough space between each fish's name and subsequent information, as well as space between each column, and space between each fish image and the text below it. I never feel overwhelmed with all the information I'm being presented with because there's good space between topics as well as relative to one another that I can easily read this without it feeling cluttered. Similarly, this article would seem ugly and disjointed if I didnt keep the same amount of space between each subheader's title and subsequent text as I made my way through contrast, alignment, repetition, and proximity.
Infographic by: blog.fishtec.co.uk