Creating a Child-Focused Layout

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Fun Fonts and Bright Colors

ChildLayout.png
Fun fonts and bright colors appeal to children. Jacci Howard Bear

A child-focused layout is typically used for material to be looked at and read by (or read to) young children. This layout is intended to appeal directly to the child, not necessarily the parents or other adults who may also be reading the material. Examples include signs, posters, games, newsletters, greeting cards, and of course, children's books. The suggestions, below, are for pre-teens and younger.

Key concepts to consider: simple | playful | fun | colorful | happy | friendly

Informal Layout

Generally, a child-focused layout will use the components typical of an informal page layout including fun fonts and bright or non-traditional colors. The alignment, balance, and elements of design that make up the informal layout are generally kid-friendly too. This includes left-aligned text, asymmetrical balance, playful curves, and rounded shapes.

Fonts

Readability is still essential. Young readers may not be able to read elaborate fonts with non-standard letterforms. Cursive fonts may not work well either for this age group — especially with the decline in the teaching of cursive handwriting.  Simple sans serif fonts are good choices. Cute or child-like handwriting fonts for large titles, headlines, and within graphics work well.  Consider fancy drop caps that feature cartoon characters or other images suitable to the subject matter.

Material meant to appeal to the very young child that will be read by an adult should probably use classic serif or sans serif fonts with which adults are comfortable for the main text.  

"For young children or beginning readers of any age, a larger type size around 14 points is good." — How to Match Type Size to Readership

Some fun fonts for kids:

 

"When selecting a typeface for a children’s text, look for a warm, friendly design with simple, generous letter shapes. The counters (the enclosed shapes within characters) should be rounded and open, not angular or rectangular. Avoid non-traditional letterforms. A good example of a typeface with these attributes is Sassoon Primary, designed specifically for children." — Typography for Children | fonts.com [includes good tips on choosing legible, readable fonts for young readers]

 

Colors

Attract pre-schoolers and young readers with primary colors and bright colors. Monochromatic or soft, subdued color schemes probably won't work as well (except, perhaps, for a bedtime story book) but if you have a limited budget for color, use a single bright color with a few tints or consider pre-printed papers.

Find your favorite kid-friendly colors.

Images

Choose artwork based on the age of the children and of course the subject matter. Smiling faces, cartoon characters, dinosaurs, simple line drawings (think coloring books), and familiar objects appeal to the young child.  For photographs, focus close-up on the person or object of interest, eliminating background clutter. Also consider cropping photos into fun or unusual shapes.

 

More Kid-Friendly Graphic Design and Desktop Publishing

Explore more kid-friendly design whether it is by kids or created for them.

"Through scrapbooking, you can teach older children about color theory, design principles and even basic photography techniques." — 8 Reasons Why You Should Be Scrapbooking With Your Kids | Yahoo! Voices

"...kids prefer pictures to words. I'd make the illustrations large, and the words bigger too for ease of reading." — How does one design a children's book? | Graphic Design/StackExchange

"Doing some artistic activities with your children is very vital for their development. Since you are a graphic designer, why don’t you show your kids what you are working on and how you earn a living? This will not only interest them but will also allow you to spend some quality time with them. So, what are you waiting for? Try teaching your kid some graphic design exercises and for sure both of you will enjoy." — Kids Can Learn Graphic Designing Too | Naldz Graphics [includes 10 ways to help your child do graphic design]