Quick Tip:
Using Shadows to Make
Your Design Stand Out

Let's say you have landed a big assignment and are now working on applying what you've learned in the AWAI GDS program. You want to use design elements that stand out and have "punch" to them.

So you add a starburst with the word “Free” next to the image of the free premium. And you choose a strong color like red or bright yellow for the starburst. If you add a shadow to the starburst, you'll increase its impact significantly. (But keep in mind that, generally, you do not want to add shadows to words. It decreases readability.)

Now … instead of using the default shadow of your layout program – which is usually a shade of gray – use the color that is on the opposite side of the color wheel from the color of the object you are applying the shadow to. (You'll find a color wheel on page 366 of your program book.)

Let's say your starburst is red. Choose green as your shadow color. Since the shadow is just a percent of the green tint, your design won't look like Christmas (red & green). But the shadow will make the starburst stand out even more.

If your starburst is yellow, apply a violet shadow. Try these opposite color-wheel variations and see the difference!

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Published: March 23, 2006

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