The layout, or placement, of the visual elements on your page will guide your audience through your materials so they can absorb your message. This is an important consideration, since successful composition means that you’ve arranged your design in a way that not only looks good, but is also functional and effective.
Once you’ve prioritized the information you want to convey, organize your layout to support it, Charlie says. “If your main, secondary, and supporting messages are all catching your eye at the same time, or the secondary or supporting messaging is coming through more loudly, reconsider the balance of the composition.”
Generally speaking, your primary message should be at the top of the page, larger and bolder than the secondary and tertiary messaging, which should appear below in descending order of importance. Headers, eyebrows (small type over your main headline), and text set within shapes as mentioned above help frame each message. Again, you can emphasize particular messages by using larger fonts and imagery.
In cultures that read from left to right, website visitors often begin viewing a page on the upper left corner and, for the most part, continue to focus on that side of the page. Placing all your important messaging on the left, however, could lead to a lopsided page that would ultimately be off-putting. Adding imagery on the right to complement messaging on the left is one way composition can reinforce the message while maintaining viewer attention. Another is to use arrows or triangular shapes to create an eye path to take readers around the website and draw their attention to what you want them to see.
When composing a layout, a grid is your friend. A grid consists of invisible "lines" that your content can be placed on and acts as a skeleton for your website. “Grids give order to designs and help you decide where components should be placed,” Sarah says. They’ll ensure that visuals don’t seem to be floating unrelated to other layout elements.