How to bid in bridge
When you and your partner are bidding you want to try to get into a situation when one of you knows how high to bid. For example, if I know you have 12 points then I can add my points to what you've shown and calculate the total.
Most bidding in bridge follows this pattern. You'll start by searching for the right suit to play in. Then one player will make a bid to show a specific strength and shape and that will allow partner to decide how high to bid.
So it can be helpful to think of every bid as falling into one of three categories. 1 - New suit, 2 - Limit Bid, 3 - Sign Off.
North starts with 1♦.
South bids a new suit, 1♥, keeping the bidding low.
North bids another new suit, 1♠, still at a low level.
South has found a spade fit. 3♠ is a limit bid.
North decides to bid game.
The bidding simplified
Now let's break the auction up into the simple way we've been discussing.
Points to remember
When you're bidding a new suit keep the bidding as low as possible to give your side room to explore.
When you're making a limit bid you bid as high as you can. You don't need to save bidding space now because you're pretty sure you know if you're going to play in a suit contract or notrumps. Now's the time to describe your strength.
After one player has made a limit bid to show their points and shape that persons partner will be in a good position to choose the final contract.