- Monday, March 31, 2014

Graphic Elements: Balance

What appears to be textbook elements to design that you would learn at some hoity toity art school also seemingly is the same thing you would consider in regular art. In art, it is whatever you want it to be because art does that. As we all know, Van Gogh's concept of perspective isn't exactly textbook, but he's more credible than most art teachers with names you never heard of before and paintings you've never seen before. So, if you want to go mainstream and avoid Van Goghing it in graphic design, here's some stuff to consider.

Here is a 40-ish slide presentation of a quick intro into the Principles of design. These are textbook techniques to make professional quality design in graphic arts and even art itself.

Elements vs Principles

You will often see the words “Elements of Design,” and “Principles of Design,” and while some do not make much of a distinction between the two, Wikipedia did. Elements are the objects in the design, or units, like color and shapes. Principles of design is how you use those elements and the relationship between the elements.

Principles of Design Summary

Here we cover the basics:
  • Balance​
  • Proximity​
  • White Space​
  • Alignment​
  • Repetition​
  • Contrast
I tried to keep things simple for a quick and easy read.



Applying these principles is an art in of itself. Some of the examples, even in the slide show, are not exactly what everyone agrees is a great piece of work; in fact, the “greatness” of a piece is very subjective. But, the important thing is to consider these concepts when designing, and as you design and do things, you’ll see your skill grow as an artist.

Don’t Forget Why You Walked Into This Room!

Keep in mind purpose of your design. Some things, you want less white space than others. The white space in a book cover is going to flow completely different than the white space on a web site’s home page. Ads for places positioned as a bargain usually prefer less white space than places that position themselves as a luxury. A spa usually has more white space in their marketing material than a used car dealership. Pinterest prefers more medium colors than Ello’s lust for bold art. Facebook rather prefers designs that breaks all these rules.
How to use these Principles
  • In your art
  • In other designs

Definitely keep these principles in mind as you design, anywhere, whether it’s a quick canva or an illustrious photoshop.

But also…

You can look around and see how these principles are used for various purposes. When you drive pass businesses, think of these principles in their logo design. When you peruse the web, you’ll lose 8 of your 9 lives if you analyze every picture you see, but the pictures you particularly like or hate are perfect for thinking about, “Hmm, that balance is so off,” or “Lovely use of contrast.”

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Learn More About Principles of Design

For more information on this, check out these links…
  1. Space
  2. Simple Navigation
  3. About Us
  4. Contact Information
  5. Call to Action
  6. Search
  7. Informational Footer
  8. Style for Buttons
  9. Great Images
  10. Web Fonts
  1. Unique Typography
  2. Flat Design
  3. Hover Effects
  4. Scroll to Page Sections
  5. Giant Product Images
  6. In-Depth Product Videos
  7. Large Responsive Images
Wikipedia offers a wonderful quick read of a good summary of all the design elements…

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