It’s the four words of the design principles without no design principles applied to how they look. They are centre aligned, all in bold, all the same font space and with the same space between each line.
Viewed this way, these are just four random words. Pretty forgettable, really.
Text block with contrast and repetition
But when we apply contrast to the first letter of each word, we start to create more visual impact. We increased the font size. We added colour and changed the font style to bold.
The contrast helps us highlight the acronym C-R-A-P that the first letters form. This isn’t clear in the first version on the left.
We also removed the bold from the rest of the letters in each word to make it even clearer.
Also, by the repetition of the formatting across each of the four words, it helps to reinforce that your eye is supposed to scan down the bold letters to get the acronym.
However, you can see that in the middle example, it still needs some work. When we increase the font size, it also increases the jagged edge alignment that centre aligned text suffers from. It also increased the spacing (leading) between each line. Now the words look quite distant from each other.
Text block with contrast, repetition, alignment and proximity
So, in the final example on the right hand side, we have aligned all the capital letters to the left. And we adjusted the leading (line spacing) to create more proximity between the individual words. This makes it seem more like the words sit together as a single item.
If you look more closely, you’ll also note in the middle version of the word, the large font capital letter and the small font of the rest of the copy, creates some gaps between the letters. This makes them look separated. So, between the “P” and the “r” in Proximity for example, there’s too much white space.
In the final version of the layout, we’ve manually adjusted the kerning so that the small font “fits” better with its large first letter. Look at the difference in the word Proximity between the second and third examples.
Let’s now go through each of those four design principles in more detail.