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The Minutia Matters

By March 14, 2011July 1st, 2014Branding & Design
The Minutia Matters

Details.  How many people notice the little nuances that I spend hours toiling over? Why do I spend so much time obsessing over one or two small details that no one else will probably notice?

For most people, it doesn’t matter if the graphic is three pixels to the left or to the right. But it does matter when it doesn’t look right.

For some people, all that matters is that the information is on the page and looks somewhat decent. But somewhat decent just isn’t good enough for my clients or me.

I guess that is what makes me different. I obsess over the details. I become fixated on all the various possible ways the design can look, and I want the end result to be the best it can possibly be; the ultimate option for my client. When a baker is trying to perfect his recipes, he must focus on every detail of his ingredients to perfect the same taste each time. Otherwise, people will feel it doesn’t taste right.

Therefore, it does matter if the line of copy is justified left or justified right, and it matters where the logo is on the page. It matters when you leave white space and it matters when you don’t. There may be extra space, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be filled up.

Space is good, it allows the viewer to focus on the core message and not get overwhelmed by clutter. There must be a reason for every component within a design whether it’s part of a logo, advertisement, website, or letterhead. As a designer, it is my job to come up with multiple solutions and help decide which one works best for you.

In the samples below, you’ll notice that each graphic is layered exactly the same; the only difference is the position of the color. This alters the balance within the figure. The positioning of the lightest square in each graphic changes the symmetry and focal point of the elements.


Needless to say, my passion drives me to work countless hours and question every element. When I’m working on a design project, I ask Marisa, my wife & partner, what she thinks of the difference between design option four and design option five. Sometimes the changes are so minuscule that she may not even notice at first glance. However, once we review all of the options we are always able to choose one.

Even if she doesn’t notice that one option is three pixels to the left, she can see the overall cohesion and aesthetic of one particular design over another. This makes me realize that all my time and effort is worthwhile because we have found the best possible solution, regardless of how many versions were created.

The most rewarding part of my work is the reaction from the client when I design something they haven’t thought of before. For me, that is the true glory in design.

Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • Great article. I couldn’t agree more; the satisfaction lies in the first reaction and positive reinforcement. I often spend so much time in the details, knowing that the average client will never know the difference. The fresh perspective right before you present the final work to the client always helps.

    • Michael says:

      Thanks Jeff! I glad to know that there are other designers obsessing over the smallest details. Even though some will never know the time we spent, at least we know other options were looked at.