With last week’s entry regarding design elements, I focused on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. inspirations.  While I love Marvel Comics, and I’m a great big geek gurl, there are serious matters as well.  I’m all for causes that mean something.

Last month was Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and that’s something very close to home for me. This month is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and this is an important subject that’s touched far too many in my life.  Abuse comes in many forms, and we need to spread more awareness.

Every time someone comes to me, seeking love and support and help, my heart breaks.

In design SHAPE is important:

Here’s the thing, in abuse – shape doesn’t matter.  Abusers come in all sizes and both genders. This simple Public Service Announcement used by the Salvation Army chose a dress that drove social media wild is in its very nature a discussion on the positive or negative.  They kept the negative space simple and clear, taking up a majority of this advertisement and even used a font color that would match in with a positive/negative space ratio to put forth a very simple concept in their PSA on domestic violence.

I like other parts of this advertisement as well:

  • Use of a model – Just because someone is beautiful, looks strong, is male, whatever… does not mean that they aren’t abused
  • Use of #TheDress – This dress took the internet by storm. What color is it? Not all abuse is visible or so clearly defined.
  • Also in using the dress – People of all races and creeds suffer from abuse. You don’t have to be a certain “color” or anything else.


With proximity, we want to group similar items to create a flow that the viewer can easily follow.  This example uses the arrows in a circle with an ombre effect in the color, both of which creates flow.  Inside the circle, the hands also create a flow, as do the angle of the words used to describe each phase. Even the word “Cycle” in the title speaks towards flow, making everything quite relational.


With the principle of Gestalt, you want to ensure that the whole appears unified to create a whole.  In this wordle example, the smaller words all describe the larger “Domestic Violence” in some way.  The fonts match each other.  Red visually signals both “danger” as well as “stop” to a person’s subconscious.  The background colour matches a homogenous skin tone and the center resembles the mottled appearance of a bruise, which speaks to the most visible sign of domestic violence.  Each individual part supports the whole in telling the story.

There’s a lot of different forms of abuse out there.  Not everything leaves a visible mark, however there’s always something left behind.

–Lady O