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Graphic Design Principles
Principles of graphic design:
Symetrical, radial, formal, and informal ways of arranging elements on a page to achieve visual balance is the focus of this class. Also covers the 'rule of thirds' and other structural elements. Our bodies need a balance of nutrients to keep us healthy but every now and then it's OK to feast on chocolate, ice cream, and an entire supersize bag of potato chips. Balance in design is much the same. For most of our reading our eyes and minds are most comfortable with evenly balanced layouts where the graphics don't overpower the text and the page doesn't seem to tilt to one side or the other.
Learn how to arrange elements on the page through proximity -- keeping like items together and creating unity by how close or far apart elements are from each other. Observe a group of people in a room. You can often learn a lot about who is listening intently to another person, which are strangers, or who is ignoring who by how close together they sit or stand. In design, proximity or closeness creates a bond between people and between elements on a page. How close together or far apart elements are placed suggests a relationship (or lack of) between otherwise disparate parts. Unity is also achieved by using a third element to connect distant parts.
While centered text has its place it is often the mark of a novice designer. Learn how to align text and graphics to create more interesting, dynamic, or appropriate layouts. Lack of alignment creates a sloppy, unorganized look. Mixing too many alignments can have a similiar effect. However, it's also OK to break alignment when it serves a specific purpose such as to intentionally create tension or draw attention to a specific element on the page.
For simple arrangements, items can be aligned using the automatic align options in your software. For more complicated layouts the use of guidelines and grids aid in the precise placement of elements.
- Repetition / Consistency
Get an understanding of the importance of consistency for the reader and ways to create a consistent and balanced look through different types of repetition.
Big vs. small, black vs. white. These are some ways to create contrast and visual interest. Learn a variety of ways to use contrast. Contrast is one the principles of design. Contrast occurs when two elements are different. The greater the difference the greater the contrast. The key to working with contrast is to make sure the differences are obvious. Four common methods of creating contrast are by using differences in size, value, color, and type.
Contrast adds interest to the page and provides a means of emphasizing what is important or directing the reader's eye. On a page without contrast, the reader doesn't know where to look first or what is important. Contrast makes a page more interesting so the reader is more apt to pay attention to what is on the page. Contrast aids in readability by making headlines and subheadings stand out. Contrast shows what is important by making smaller or lighter elements recede on the page to allow other elements to take center stage.
- White Space
The art of nothing is another description for this principle. View examples of good and bad use of white space and how to avoid trapped white space.
White space is an important principle of design missing from the page layouts of many novices. White space is nothing. White space is the absence of text and graphics. It breaks up text and graphics. It provides visual breathing room for the eye. Add white space to make a page less cramped, confusing, or overwhelming.