Graphic Design is actually quite complicated. It is much more than putting pictures and wording together.
Many believe Graphic Design is, Billboards, Logos, Magazines, Flyers, Business Cards, these are the things that come to mind when you think about Graphic Design. It is a profession and if we dig deeper, it is truly an art. Here is the technical definition:
Graphic Design is the art or profession of visual communication that combines images, words and ideas to convey information to an audience, especially to produce a specific effect. In other words, Graphic Design is communication design, it is a way of conveying ideas through visuals and design.
But Graphic Design is not a black and white concept. To fully grasp the concept of Graphic Design, it is important to have a solid understanding of the elements and principles that make up Graphic Design.
Elements of Graphic Design
Design Elements are the basic unit of any visual design that forms the design's structure and conveys its visual message. The elements of Graphic Design are:
Line - The most basic of the design elements. Lines can be curved, straight, thick, thin, two-dimensional, three-dimensional etc. A line is simply an element of design that is defined by a point moving in space.
Shape - A shape is a two-dimensional defined area created by lines. Different types of shape included geometric, abstract, and organic shapes, all of which are basic elements of Graphic Design.
Colour - Colour is one element that is especially important in attracting attention because there is the psychology behind the feelings that colour can evoke. There are three main characteristics to colour: hue (the colour family), value (how light or dark the colour is) and saturation (the purity of the colour).
Typography - Typography is the art of arranging type (fonts). This one is critically important as it can greatly affect the Graphic Design's messaging. Different fonts, combined with varied sizing, colours and spacing can add power to the concept the designer is trying to communicate.
Texture - Texture in Graphic Design refers to how things look like they'd feel if they were touched. For example, texture can be rough, smooth, glossy, soft, hard, etc. The texture is another element used to draw attention. It can be added to other elements like shape, colours, images and type.
Size - Size is how small or large something is. In Graphic Design, size is used as an indication of the importance and it can also create visual interest in a design by using contrasting sizes.
Space - This refers to the areas of the Graphic Design that are left blank. These areas include any distance or areas between, around, below or above other design elements. Designers intentionally place spaces in the design to add emphasis to areas of the design.
Principles of Graphic Design
The principles of Graphic Design suggest how the designer should best arrange the various components of a page layout to ensure the elements of the overall design are connected to one another. The principles of Graphic Design include the following:
Balance - Achieving visual balance in Graphic Design is done by using symmetry and asymmetry. This is achieved by balancing the design in weight, meaning shapes, lines and other elements are distributed evenly. So even if the two side of the design isn't exactly the same, they have similar elements. Balance is important because it provides structure and stability to a design.
Alignment - Alignment is about keeping the design organized. All aspects of the design should be aligned with the top, bottom, centre, or sides to create a visual connection between the elements.
Proximity - Proximity creates a visual relationship between the elements of the design. It minimizes clutter, increases viewer comprehension and provides a focal point for viewers. It does not necessarily mean the similar elements need to be put right next to each other, it just means they should be connected visually.
Repetition - Once you have chosen how to use your elements, repeat those patterns to establish consistency throughout the design. This repetition ties together individual elements and strengthens the design but creating a feeling of organized movement.
Contrast - Contrasting is used to emphasize certain aspects of the design. Using contrast allows you to stress differences between elements, ultimately highlighting the key elements of your design that you want to stand out.
Find out more about Graphic Design in our next article.