CRAP Principles in Latest Web Design

Some lessons in life just stick – like always saying “please” and “thank you,” or remembering to wait at least 20 minutes before drinking a McDonald’s coffee.

You know what else stuck with me? The CRAP design principles. Even without the memorable acronym, these are useful standards for all design work.

As a writer and a (poor-man’s) designer, I was taught in college to look at any piece of content with the CRAP principles in mind. If you’re like me and spend most of your day online, you begin to notice patterns and trends among websites and brands.

So, I thought I would write about all the latest web design trends and see how they apply to CRAP principles. My professors would be so proud.

“C” is for Contrast.

One major web design trend is using contrasting typefaces. Designers are using fonts like script and slab together to create an interesting, unique feel to their type.

Traditionally, designers were told to keep script or slab fonts to a minimum, but many websites are ignoring that old standby.

brooklyn soap company


“R” is for Repetition.

Repetition is what is responsible for creating the whole feel of brand. Repeating elements across a web page signals a unified, cohesive feel to the user. A consistently placed logo across a website or using the same fonts for all heading tags are just some examples of repetition in web design.

Lately, I’ve noticed companies being more creative with the placements of their logos. Placing logos in the center or on the right allows the rest of the design become more fluid and eye-catching in nature. While center and right side logo placement may not be a huge trend, it’s still interesting to see designers deviate from the norm.

Screen Shot 2014-05-30 at 11.39.23 AM


“A” is for Alignment.

Alignment in design is also known as the grouping or “chunking” of information. Alignment plays a major role in giving the web page a sense of order and intent.

The latest trend in alignment in web design is the full-page layout. In a full-page layout, the left and right sidebars are removed. This layout has been very popular for website homepages as it gives the front page a punchier feel. Removing the left and right sidebars makes the user focus solely on the content in the center of the page. You can see how this design would be particularly helpful to websites that are image-heavy.



“P” is for Proximity.

Like alignment, proximity also focuses on the grouping and arrangement of elements. By grouping like items together, you tell the user that those elements are inherently similar or, by the same token, different if placed farther apart.

A major trend I’ve seen as of late is the addition of white space. Web designs are continuing to pursue minimalism, and white space plays a major role in the design transition. If used correctly, white space can “improve readability and usability,” according to web designers at

Keep in mind that white space doesn’t necessarily have to be the color white! In fact, you can substitute any color, but there must be an abundance of blank space occupying the web page used to aggregate or disaggregate elements.

white space


Have you noticed any other emerging web design trends? Next time you’re on an interesting looking site, make note of the way designers challenge the CRAP principles. You might just discover the latest trend!

And speaking of web design, if you’re designing or redesigning a website, be sure to check out our 5 Step Checklist for website design.

photo credit cc