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Designing with Limitations: Thinking “INSIDE THE BOX”


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“Think outside the box” is a phrase commonly used when looking for an individual or a team to break paradigms and manage to propose different and creative ideas. Graphic designers hear this phrase very often and in particular from new customers.

Some have the idea that the best design is one that does not have any restrictions. The reality is that these can come in a variety of forms and is something that graphic designers have to constantly deal with.

Design constraints are those little keys to consistency that help brands to create greater coherence in their visual identity and guide voice.

Design rules and restrictions can help us focus on what is visually important in a project or for a brand and lead us to look for much more creative solutions.

Some of the limitations we can find are:

  • Size or format

  • Typography

  • Color palette

  • Words and content

  • Logos and images

  • Technology or software

  • Delivery times

  • Budget

  • Standards to be met

The true of the matter is, that a piece that is exceptionally different does not automatically qualify as good design, even although it has been created “out of the box”. On the other hand, a project that has been designed inside the “many boxes of restrictions of design” will more likely hit the mark.

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