Man with glasses struggles to read, accessible grpahic design

Graphic Design for Accessibility

When people think of accessibility, many think of accommodations in the built environment such as ramps, elevators and handrails. However, accessibility in graphic design is just as important. Designing for inclusivity influences how your brand communicates and broadens its appeal.

Today, our graphic design team in Melbourne will explain what this involves.

Why accessible graphic design matters

There are 575,000 reasons to take accessibility seriously in graphic design.  That’s the approximate number of Australians living with vision impairment, which can include:

  • Total blindness
  • Low vision
  • Distortions and artefacts
  • Colour-blindness

Accessibility is also vital for people living with neurological, learning, and/or cognitive conditions that can affect visual comprehension. For example, it is believed that 10% of Australians live with dyslexia.

Inclusive design is key to ensuring that your visuals can reach the widest audience possible.

Inclusive design increases your audience and engagement

Designing for accessibility is not just the right thing to do – it is also good for your brand. Accessible graphic design can be understood by a much larger number of people, automatically increasing your audience size and cut-through, resulting in more powerful and effective design.

Accessible design benefits everyone

Ramps, closed captioning, and automatic doors were all originally designed for accessibility but quickly found to be used by everyone. This is known as the curb-cut effect, and it applies to graphic design as well. Simply put, accessible graphic design is easier for everyone to understand.

Why accessible graphic design is good graphic design

Accessible design focuses on clarity, simplicity, and intuitiveness. Focusing on designs that can be understood with relatively little effort is good graphic design. Following best practices for accessible and inclusive graphic design makes for a stronger and clearer message in your brand and marketing material.

How to optimise your graphic design for accessibility

Choose typefaces for accessibility, not just appearance

The typeface you choose for your brand says a lot – literally and figuratively. Typefaces can help convey your brand’s personality, and a poor choice can say the wrong thing about your brand.

A poorly chosen typeface can be hard to read, robbing the impact of your message. Where possible, typefaces should be chosen for accessibility as well as aesthetics. For example, sans serif typefaces such as Calibri, Verdana and Tahoma are the most accessible owing to their simplicity. In contrast, script typefaces that mimic human handwriting can result in irregular shapes and decorative flairs which can make them harder to read.

Colour choice

Colour is one of the most important tools we have, and they can say a lot about your brand. An effective design doesn’t just use colours that pair well together, it also uses colours that maximise readability and understandability.

It’s recommended to use colours with a 4.5:1 contrast ratio for normal sized text, and 3:1 for headers or other large text. You can check how accessible your colour choices are using free online tools.

Use hierarchy, spacing, and arrangement to make your designs more accessible

Hierarchy, spacing, and arrangement are key principles in graphic design. Drawing attention to specific elements guides audiences towards certain behaviours.

They are especially helpful when designing for accessibility as:

  • Headings and subheadings help organise information
  • White space reduces clutter
  • Grouping related elements or ideas makes your designs more intuitive

All of this helps to make your collateral more easily digested and understood, for everyone.

Put yourself in the shoes of your audience

Empathy is the key to inclusion. It helps us to better understand the challenges a person might encounter and how we can take steps to address their needs through graphic design.

Put yourself in the shoes of someone who lives with a visual impairment or cognitive issue. Research how common conditions can affect visual perception and ask yourself: can you still understand it without reading the copy? Is the message clear? What might be getting lost along the way?

These are just some of the questions to ask ourselves – or better yet, someone who lives with disability – when designing.

Accessible web design

With more and more of our lives being lived online, it is no surprise that digital accessibility has become increasingly important. Accessible design applies to websites, emails, and Apps just as much as it does to traditional mediums like print.

While many of the same accessible graphic design principles apply, the online nature of digital design brings additional considerations such as:

  • Screen reader compatibility
  • Suitable alt text
  • Accessible forms
  • Keyboard-only navigation

Here at MOO, we have extensive experience designing and developing accessible websites to WCAG standards. Our digital marketing agency in Melbourne combines inclusive design with features like responsive design and accessibility plugins to build websites that can be used by a wide variety of different users.

Talk to our marketing agency in Melbourne

For brands seeking to maximise their reach and impact, inclusivity is non-negotiable. Understanding the importance of inclusive design is only half the battle – the other is executing it.

The MOO team has extensive experience with accessible and inclusive design. Our multidisciplinary marketing agency in Melbourne can take care of all your marketing needs, or work collaboratively with other agencies on individual areas of need.

Find out how we can help your stand out from the herd, all while making your brand more accessible. Contact our team today on (03) 9857 5550, or email us at moo@moo.com.au

Find out what MOO can do for you

If you want to stand out from the herd, call us on (03) 9857 5550 or email moo@moo.com.au.