A beautifully made billboard evokes different reactions from people. A normal person who has never been exposed to the world of graphic arts would perhaps comment on the physical attributes of the subject chosen. Take for example if the billboard showed a woman dressed in a skimpy red dress and is carrying a bottle of expensive red wine, you’ll hear comments like the woman is so skinny, or too blonde or too sexy and so on. These are superficial comments that an average person sans the knowledge of graphic design would normally comment about. However for a graphic designer, the comments go beyond the superficial.
You’ll never hear an artist comment about how short the model is or why they chose that kind of red dress when it could have been a darker one. Usually you hear them talk about lines, contrast, balance and the like, the kind of comments that you rarely hear from your peers. This is simply because graphic design is a kind of profession that follows certain principles exclusive and unique to this practice. Art gains more meaning when you obtain a complete understanding of its elements.
Some of the most basic principles of design include balance, contrast, repetition, white space, proximity and alignment. These are the fundamentals that make up what you call graphic design. Moreover, these elements are also evaluated based on the use of gestalt, movement, rhythm, proportion, emphasis, harmony, unity and pattern. This article will tackle on the basic principles of graphic design. If you happen to be interested to learn about graphic design and expand your knowledge base about it you can inquire about scholarships that offer classes on graphic design in certain schools and universities.
Graphic design is the art of visual communication that combines graphics and texts designed to effectively communicate to the public. These designs usually come in the form of billboards, brochures, posters, logos and newsletters. Graphic designs have been used by large-scale and even low-scale companies to gain profit by selling their products via entertaining and eye-catching strategies through visual communication.
The following are the basic principles that constitute graphic design:
1. Balance – balance in designs mean that the parts have to be planned and arranged to create a coherent visual pattern. There should be a balance between space, color and shape to make the design presentable. This principle is based on the concept of weight and proportion. Individuals can be able to evaluate not just in graphic design but in other situations if there is a sense of balance. Balance does not necessarily have to be linear or symmetrical. When you say balance you should take into consideration all the elements even without its content. There should be equality in tension and equilibrium.
2. Contrast – contrast by definition is seeing the differences. The same principle applies to graphic design. To be able to create contrast among the elements in the design you can use locations, relationships, sizes, colors and shapes. Take for instance in text you can mix different font styles on the same page or using type in unique ways. Another example to represent contrast is to place a small object right next to a large one to make the other object smaller.
3. Repetition – repetition means that something occurs more than a few times. Repetition in graphic design is common as it creates visual consistency especially in paper designs. Like using the same headline style or the same initial capitals. You can also use the layout from page one until the last. Artists also have to strike a balance in using repetition because when repetition becomes too much it may lead to boredom and uninteresting design.
4. White space – white spaces are areas of your design which are devoid of images or text. White space include the space between the lines of type, off set of text from images, gutters and margins or any part of your page that is left empty. Whit space is also synonymous to positive space or negative space. Improper use of white space can take away the harmony, rhythm, unity and balance of your design. White space is very important in every design as it gives contrast, emphasis and movement to your elements.
5. Proximity – the distance of individual design elements. Elements that are in close proximity specify connection.
6. Alignment – alignment is keeping related objects under one line.
Graphic design is an elaborate craft that follows a distinct set of principles. The artists behind those flashy billboards and glossy cover pages have thoughtfully planned all the elements before they disseminated their proposed projects to print. This esteemed art can only be understood by those who have a good grasp of the principles of graphic design.
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