Principals of Graphic Design


| 1-Introduction | 2-Balance | 3-Proportion | 4-Rythm | 5-Emphasis | 6-Unity | 7-Contrast |
| 8-Direction | 9-Economy | 10-Lesson Resources |

Introduction

The principles of design help to determine how to use the design elements. There are four principles of design: balance, emphasis, rhythm, and unity. These principles of design help you to combine the various design elements into a good layout.


| 1-Introduction | 2-Balance | 3-Proportion | 4-Rythm | 5-Emphasis | 6-Unity | 7-Contrast |
| 8-Direction | 9-Economy | 10-Lesson Resources |

1 - Balance

Balance is an equal distribution of weight. In terms of graphics, this applies to visual weight. Each element on a layout has visual weight that is determined by its size, darkness or lightness, and thickness of lines. There are two basic approaches to balance. The first is symmetrical balance which is an arrangement of elements so that they are evenly distributed to the left and to the right of center. The second is asymmetrical balance which is an arrangement of unlike objects of equal weight on each side of the page. Color, value, size, shape, and texture can be used as balancing elements.

balance4 balance1 balance 3 balance 2
horizontal symmetry

approximate horizontal
symmetry

radial symmetry
assymmetry

Examples of balance:

balance 1

balance 2

To create balance:


| 1-Introduction | 2-Balance | 3-Proportion | 4-Rythm | 5-Emphasis | 6-Unity | 7-Contrast |
| 8-Direction | 9-Economy | 10-Lesson Resources |

2 - Proportion

Proportion refers to the relative size and scale of the various elements in a design. The issue is the relationship between objects, or parts, of a whole. This means that it is necessary to discuss proportion in terms of the context or standard used to determine proportions. Proportion is the comparison of dimensions or distribution of forms. It is the relationship in scale between one element and another, or between a whole object and one of its parts. Differing proportions within a composition can relate to different kinds of balance or symmetry, and can help establish visual weight and depth. In the below examples, notice how the smaller elements seem to recede into the background while the larger elements come to the front.

proximity

proportion1proportion2


| 1-Introduction | 2-Balance | 3-Proportion | 4-Rythm | 5-Emphasis | 6-Unity | 7-Contrast |
| 8-Direction | 9-Economy | 10-Lesson Resources |

3 - Rythm

Rhythm is a pattern created by repeating elements that are varied. Repetition (repeating similar elements in a consistent manner) and variation (a change in the form, size, or position of the elements) are the keys to visual rhythm. Placing elements in a layout at regular intervals creates a smooth, even rhythm and a calm, relaxing mood. Sudden changes in the size and spacing of elements creates a fast, lively rhythm and an exciting mood.

Rhythm is the repetition or alternation of elements, often with defined intervals between them. Rhythm can create a sense of movement, and can establish pattern and texture. There are many different kinds of rhythm, often defined by the feeling it evokes when looking at it.

Regular Rythm

A regular rhythm occurs when the intervals between the elements, and often the elements themselves, are similar in size or length.

Flowing Rythm

A flowing rhythm gives a sense of movement, and is often more organic in nature.

Progressive Rythm

A progressive rhythm shows a sequence of forms through a progression of steps.

regular rythm

flowing rythm

progressive rythm

repetition and rythm

To create rhythm:


| 1-Introduction | 2-Balance | 3-Proportion | 4-Rythm | 5-Emphasis | 6-Unity | 7-Contrast |
| 8-Direction | 9-Economy | 10-Lesson Resources |

4 - Emphasis

Emphasis is what stands out or gets noticed first. Every layout needs a focal point to draw the readers eye to the important part of the layout. Too many focal points defeat the purpose. Generally, a focal point is created when one element is different from the rest. Look at the 4 examples below. Notice that in each case your eye travels to the elements that stands out by being different. Your eye naturally travels to the element that is diferent in each example.

emphasis

emphasis

To create emphasis:


| 1-Introduction | 2-Balance | 3-Proportion | 4-Rythm | 5-Emphasis | 6-Unity | 7-Contrast |
| 8-Direction | 9-Economy | 10-Lesson Resources |

5 - Proximity/Unity

Unity helps all the elements look like they belong together. Readers need visual cues to let them know the piece is one unit-the text, headline, photographs, graphic images, and captions all go together. The concept of unity describes the relationship between the individual parts and the whole of a composition. It investigates the aspects of a given design that are necessary to tie the composition together, to give it a sense of wholeness, or to break it apart and give it a sense of variety. Unity in design is a concept that stems from some of the Gestalt theories of visual perception and psychology, specifically those dealing with how the human brain organizes visual information into categories, or groups.

unity


| 1-Introduction | 2-Balance | 3-Proportion | 4-Rythm | 5-Emphasis | 6-Unity | 7-Contrast |
| 8-Direction | 9-Economy | 10-Lesson Resources |

Closure

closure

Closure is the idea that the brain tends to fill in missing information when it perceives an object is missing some of its pieces. Objects can be deconstructed into groups of smaller parts, and when some of these parts are missing the brain tends to add information about an object to achieve closure. In the below examples, we compulsively fill in the missing information to create shape.


| 1-Introduction | 2-Balance | 3-Proportion | 4-Rythm | 5-Emphasis | 6-Unity | 7-Contrast |
| 8-Direction | 9-Economy | 10-Lesson Resources |

Continuance

continuance

Continuance is the idea that once you begin looking in one direction, you will continue to do so until something more significant catches your attention. Perspective, or the use of dominant directional lines, tends to successfully direct the viewers eye in a given direction. In addition, the eye direction of any subjects in the design itself can cause a similar effect. In the above example, the eye immediately goes down the direction of the road ending up in the upper right corner of the frame of reference. There is no other dominant object to catch and redirect the attention.


| 1-Introduction | 2-Balance | 3-Proportion | 4-Rythm | 5-Emphasis | 6-Unity | 7-Contrast |
| 8-Direction | 9-Economy | 10-Lesson Resources |

 

Similarity, Proximity and Alignment

alignment

Items of similar size, shape and color tend to be grouped together by the brain, and a semantic relationship between the items is formed. In addition, items in close proximity to or aligned with one another tend to be grouped in a similar way. In the below example, notice how much easier it is to group and define the shape of the objects in the upper left than the lower right.

Unify elements by grouping elements that are close together so that they look like they belong together. Repeat color, shape, and texture. Use a grid (the underlying structure of a page) to establish a framework for margins, columns, spacing, and proportions.


| 1-Introduction | 2-Balance | 3-Proportion | 4-Rythm | 5-Emphasis | 6-Unity | 7-Contrast |
| 8-Direction | 9-Economy | 10-Lesson Resources |

6 - Contrast

Without values, you can’t create contrast. Without smoothness or roughness (or the illusion of those textures), you aren’t dealing with contrast. You can use various design elements to create contrast. Without contrast there would be no day or night and without contrast you cannot create an interesting design. 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.

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.

Four common methods of creating contrast are by using differences in size, value, color, and type.

Contrast using Size and Value

Interaction of contradictory elements. Expresses the duality seen in opposites. The examples below show contrast using large & small, thick & thin, light & dark, organic & geometric

contrast size and value 1

contrast size and value 2

Contrast using color

The famous adverts for the iPod expertly used contrast to focus the viewers attention on the music player. The ads featured a silhouetted character on a brightly colored background. The iPod and earphones appear in white and stand out clearly against the silhouettes and colored backgrounds.

ipod

Contrast using type

Not only is a page more attractive when contrast is used, but the purpose and organization of the document are much clearer. In the magazine spreads below, Studio8 have used Contrast, Balance and Proximity laws to produce an unusual, eye-catching page with the contributors bios on the left. Heavy black type provides a good contrast to the lighter body text. On the right, this spread is divided into two halves with reversed out type on the left. Each page provides information about two separate but related products. A huge ampersand joins the pages together.

studio 8 designcaviar
Designs by - http://www.studio8design.co.uk/


| Introduction | Balance | Proportion | Rythm | Emphasis | Unity | Contrast | Direction | Economy | Lesson Resources |

7 - Direction

Direction is the way to lead the viewer’s eye through your design layout or composition. Direction is created by line, but it also can be created by the way you use color to lead the eye through a design. Shapes, spaces, values, and perspective all create the illusion of depth in two-dimensional design, and this depth is needed to create a direction for the eye to take that journey. In three-dimensional design those shapes, spaces, values, and perspectives are all used to lead people through a design.

direction


| Introduction | Balance | Proportion | Rythm | Emphasis | Unity | Contrast | Direction | Economy | Lesson Resources |

8 - Economy

If you can remove an element within a design and that design still works, then you’ve practiced economy in design. Don’t offer more than is needed, but be sure to include all that is needed to create an intelligent and economical design. Economy emphasizes the simplification of elements to express a message; only the elements required to express the idea are used. The use of too many elements or contrasts in a design may distract viewers from the message, or cause them to disengage completely from the viewing experience. To understand economy in design, think about and remember the phrases "less is more" and "in simplicity there is beauty."

Economy of design is practiced in particular when it comes to company logo design. A company logo should be simple and yet distinctive. Look at the examples below and see if you recognize the company based on the simplicity of their company logo:

addidas jordan wb

logo4 logo4 logo 6



| Introduction | Balance | Proportion | Rythm | Emphasis | Unity | Contrast | Direction | Economy | Lesson Resources |

9 - Lesson Resources

  1. http://www.online.tusc.k12.al.us/tutorials/grdesign/grdesign.htm#princdes
  2. http://desktoppub.about.com/cs/graphicdesign/a/designbasics_2.htm
  3. http://www.canleyvale.hs.education.nsw.gov.au/Winning%20websites/art/eod.htm
  4. http://www.digital-web.com/articles/principles_of_design/
  5. https://www.math.duke.edu/education/ccp/resources/write/design/graphic4.html
  6. http://websmx.com/dme/?Lectures:Graphic_Design:Design_Element_-_Point_and_Line
  7. http://daphne.palomar.edu/design/contents.html#anchor1835584
  8. http://graphicdesign.about.com/
  9. http://www.tigercolor.com/
  10. http://www.fuelyourcreativity.com/the-lost-principles-of-design/