The principles of design
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The Principles of Design. The Structures Behind Improved Print Design . The elements and principles of design are the building blocks used to create The elements of design can be thought of as the things that make up a layout

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The Principles of Design

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The principles of design

The Principles of Design

The Structures Behind Improved Print Design

Elements of design

  • The elements and principles of design are the building blocks used to create

  • The elements of design can be thought of as the things that make up a layout

  • Good or bad - all layouts will contain most of if not all, the seven elements of design


Elements of design the line

  • Line can be considered in two ways:

  • the linear marks made with a design toolor the edge created when two shapes meet

Elements of Design: the line

Elements of design shape

  • A shape is a self contained defined area of geometric or organic form

  • A positive shape in a design automatically creates a negative shape (aka white space)

Elements of design: SHAPE

Elements of design direction

  • All lines have direction - Horizontal, Vertical or Oblique.

  • Horizontal suggests calmness, stability and tranquillity.

  • Vertical gives a feeling of balance, formality and alertness

  • Oblique suggests movement and action

Elements of Design: Direction

Elements of design size

  • Size is simply the relationship of the area occupied by one shape to that of another

  • Size can denote importance


Elements of design texture

  • Texture is perceived surface quality

  • Print design largely uses implied texture (the surface of an object looks like it feels. The texture may look rough, fizzy, gritty, but cannot actually be felt)


Elements of design colour

  • aka swatches (in InDesign)

  • Considered to be the most expressive element

  • Can create illusionof depth

  • Can draw attention to a particular part

  • Increases visual appeal

  • Complementarycolours help create contrast

  • Monochromatic colours are tints and shades of the same colour

  • Warm colours: reds, yellows, oranges

  • Cool colours: blues, greens, and purples


Primary colours

Primary colours

Secondary colours


Tertiary colours


Complimentary colours


Triad colours


Analogous colours


Elements of design value

  • aka tone

  • Value is lightness or darkness of a colour

  • Add black to a pure colour to create a shade

  • Add white to a pure colour to create a tint

  • Value gives objects depth and perception

Elements of Design: Value

The 1 rule of print design

  • The 3fs (FFF)

  • Form Follows Function

  • (what it looks like is not as important as the job it is supposed to accomplish)

  • A layout should help NOT hinder the message

  • It should be transparent in nature (ie. your viewer should not be remarking on the layout, but rather focusing on the content)


Principles of design

  • The Principles of design can be thought of as what we do to the elements of design

  • How we apply the Principles of design determines how successful we are in creating layout

Principles of Design

Principles of design balance

  • Balance in design is similar to balance in physics

  • A large shape close to the center can be balanced by a small shape close to the edge

  • A large light toned shape will be balanced by a small dark toned shape (as the darker the shape the heavier it appears to be)


Not using balance creatively

Not UsingBalanceCreatively

Using balance


Principles of design gradation

  • Gradation of size and direction produce linear perspective.

  • Gradation of colour from warm to cool and tone from dark to light produce aerial perspective.

  • Gradation can add interest and movement to a shape. A gradation from dark to light will cause the eye to move along a shape.

Principles of Design: Gradation



Gradation example

Gradation example

A pause for gradation

  • Where else have you seen gradation used today to present information to you?

A Pause forGradation

Principles of design dominance

  • Dominance gives a layout interest, counteracting confusion and monotony

  • Dominance can be applied to one or more of the elements to give emphasis


Not using dominance


Using dominance


Principles of design alignment

  • Nothing should be paced on the page arbitrarily

  • Every element should have some visual connection with another element on the page

  • Creates a sophisticated look

Principles of Design: ALIGNMENT

Not using alignment


Using alignment


Principles of design repetition

  • Repetition with variation is interesting

  • without variation repetition can become monotonous

Principles of design: Repetition

Not using repetition

Not UsingRepetition

Using repetition


Principles of design proximity

  • Items relating to each other should be grouped close together

  • Items in close proximity become one visual unit instead of several separate items

  • Helps organize information, reduce clutter, and give structure

Principles of Design: PROXIMITY

Not using proximity

Not UsingProximity

Using proximity


Principles of design contrast

  • Contrast is the juxtaposition of opposing elements e.g.. opposite colours on the colour wheel - red / green, blue / orange etc. Contrast in tone or value - light / dark. Contrast in direction - horizontal / vertical

  • The major contrast in a layout should be located at the center of interest

  • Too much contrast scattered throughout a layout can destroy unity and make a work difficult to look at.

Principles of design: contrast

Not using contrast

Not UsingContrast

Using contrast


Principles of design unity

  • Unity is staying on the story, telling only one thing at a time

  • Unity is staying in style throughout the design

  • It helps provide clear and complete communication

Principles of Design: Unity

A pause for unity


  • Where else have you seen unity used today to present information to you?

The end


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