Objectives • Learn the formal elements of graphic design • Understand the principles of design • Examine visual hierarchy • Learn about scale • Comprehend mathematical ratios and proportional systems • Grasp illusion and the manipulation of graphic space
Definitions • A line is an elongated point, considered the path of a moving point. • Shape is the general outline of something; it is configured or delineated area on a two-dimensional surface. • The colors we see on the surfaces of objects are perceived and known as reflected light or reflected color. The colors in screen-based media are known as additive colors (mixtures of light). • Value is to the level of luminosity of a color. • Texture refers to the actual tactile quality of a surface or a simulation of that surface quality. • Pattern is a consistent repetition of a single visual unit or element within a given area.
The Formal Elements of Design • Any graphic designer must have a foundation in two-dimensional design and color. • The formal elements are the building blocks of two-dimensional design. • Line • Shape • Color • Texture
Line • A point or dot is the smallest unit of a line and one that is usually recognized as being circular. • A line is an elongated point, considered the path of a moving point; it also is a mark made by a visualizing tool as it is drawn across a surface. • Lines can be straight, curving, or angular; they can guide the viewer’s eyes in a direction. (TOP) LINES MADE WITH VARIOUS MEDIA (BOTTOM) MARAGRITA MIX: PACKAGING LOUISE FILI LTD., NEW YORK
Shape • The general outline of something is a shape; it is a configured or delineated area on a two-dimensional surface created either partially or entirely by lines or by color, tone, or texture. • A shape is essentially flat—meaning it is actually two-dimensional and measurable by height and width. • All shapes may essentially be derived from three basic delineations: the square, the triangle, and the circle. Each of these basic shapes has a corresponding volumetric form or solid: the cube, the pyramid, and the sphere.
Shape • There are some basic types of shapes, including: • geometric • organic, biomorphic, or curvilinear • rectilinear • curvilinear • irregular • accidental • nonobjective or nonrepresentational • abstract • representational
Figure/Ground • Figure/ground, also called positive and negative space, is a basic principle of visual perception and refers to the relationship of shapes, of figure to ground, on a two-dimensional surface. • The figure or positive shape is a definite shape; it is immediately discernible as a shape. • The shapes or areas created between and among figures are known as the ground or negative shapes. HOPE FOR PEACE: POSTER RONALD J. CALA II
Color • Additive color system • When working with light, the three primaries are green, red, and blue. • Primaries are also called the additive primaries because, when added together, they create white light. • The color system of white light is called the additive color system.
Color • The subtractive color model is built on the subtractive primary colors. • The subtractive primary colors in pigment are yellow, red, and blue. • In printing, yellow, magenta, and cyan are the colors of the process inks used for process color reproduction. • A fourth color, black, is added to increase contrast.
Color • Designers should have a basic awareness of color print production, ink mixtures, and screen “safe” colors—and their problems. • Basic color knowledge should include awareness of the printer primaries of CMYK, the process of layering dots of ink to produce color, and the Pantone™ color system of ink selection. • The Pantone color system is a standardized color matching set of inks used in printing processes. • Designers should be aware that colors on the web can be unstable; therefore a palette of 16 “web-safe” colors was standardized. PANTONE MATCHING SYSTEM: SWATCH
Value • Value refers to the level of luminosity—lightness or darkness—of a color, such as light blue or dark red. • To adjust the value of a hue, two neutral colors are employed: pure black and white. • Black is the darkest value and white is the lightest. • Value contrast is most useful for purposes of differentiating shapes. The value contrast most clearly differentiates the figure from the ground. • Hue contrasts alone have less impact and therefore may not be as effective for differentiating between the figure and ground images or between elements of a single composition
Texture • In the visual arts, there are two categories of texture: tactile and visual. • Tactile textures have actual tactile quality and can be physically touched and felt; they are also called actual textures • There are several printing techniques that can produce tactile textures on a printed design, including embossing and debossing, stamping, engraving, and letterpress.
Texture • Visual textures are those created by hand, scanned from actual textures (such as lace), or photographed; they are illusions of real textures. • Using skills learned in drawing, painting, photography, and various other image-making media, a designer can create a great variety of textures.
Pattern • Pattern is a consistent repetition of a single visual unit or element within a given area. • In all cases, there must be systematic repetition with obvious directional movement. • If you examine patterns, you will notice that their structures rely on the configuration of three basic building blocks: dots, lines, and grids. • In a pattern, any individual small unit, whether nonobjective or representational shape, can be based on the dot or point. • Any moving path is based on lines, also called stripes. • Any two intersecting units yield a pattern grid.
Format • The format is the defined perimeter as well as the field it encloses— the outer edges or boundaries of a design. • In addition, designers often use the term format to describe the type of application—that is, a poster, a CD cover, and so on. • Format examples: • CD cover (square shape) • Single-page magazine ad (vertical rectangular shape) • Two-page spread (horizontal rectangular shape) • Size is determined by the needs of the project, function and purpose, appropriateness for the solution, and cost. • No matter what shape or type of format, each component of the composition must form a significant relationship to the format’s boundaries. FORMATS: RECTANGLES, SQUARE, CIRCLE
Balance • Balance is an equal distribution of weight. • A balanced composition can be symmetric or asymmetric. • Symmetry is the arrangement of all identical or similar visual elements so that they are evenly distributed on either side of an imaginary vertical axis, like a mirror image. • When you arrange dissimilar or unequal elements of equal weight on the page, it is called asymmetry. NEW YORK TIMES STYLE MAGAZINE: COVER NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINES
Visual Hierarchy • One of the primary purposes of graphic design is to communicate information, and the principle of visual hierarchy is the primary force for organizing information and clarifying communication. • To guide the viewer, the designer uses visual hierarchy, the arrangement of all graphic elements according to emphasis.
Emphasis • Emphasis is the arrangement of visual elements according to importance, stressing some elements over others, making some superordinate (dominant) elements and subordinating other elements. • Emphasis is directly related to establishing a point of focus— the focal point (the part of a design that is most emphasized or accentuated). • Position, size, shape, direction, hue, value, saturation, and texture of a graphic element all contribute to making it a focal point. • Once past the establishment of a focal point, a designer must further guide the viewer. SUPERDRUG HERBAL SUPPLEMENTS: PACKAGE DESIGN TURNER DUCKWORTH, LONDON
Emphasis • There are several means to achieve emphasis: • Isolation • Placement • Scale • Contrast • Direction and pointers • Diagrammatic structures • Nested structures • Stair structures
Rhythm • A strong and consistent repetition, a pattern of elements can set up a rhythm, similar to a beat in music, which causes the viewer’s eyes to move around the page. • Timing can be set by the intervals between and among the position of elements on the page. • A strong visual rhythm aids in creating stability. • Rhythm—a sequence of visual elements at prescribed intervals—across multiple-page applications and motion graphics, is critical to developing a coherent visual flow from one page to another. • Equally important is incorporating an element of variance to punctuate, accent, and create visual interest. • Many factors can contribute to establishing rhythm—color, texture, figure and ground relationships, emphasis, and balance.
Unity • There are many ways to achieve unity where all the graphic elements in a design are so interrelated that they form a greater whole • all the graphic elements look as though they belong together. • An ideal layout might be viewed as a composition of graphic elements so unified as a whole that it cannot be described merely as a sum of its parts. • Most designers would agree viewers are able to best take in (understand and remember) a composition that is a unified whole.
Perceptual Organization • The mind attempts to create order, make connections, and seek a whole by grouping— perceiving visual units by location, orientation, likeness, shape, and color. • Methods of perceptual organization: • Similarity • Proximity • Continuity • Closure • Common fate • Continuing line
Correspondence and Continuity • When you repeat an element such as color, value, shape, texture, or parallel directions or establish a style, like a linear style, you establish a visual connection or correspondence among the elements. • Continuity is related to correspondence. It is the handling of design elements—like line, shape, texture, and color—to create similarities of form. FLAMING LIPS: POSTER MODERN DOG DESIGN CO., SEATTLE
Various structural devices can aid in unifying a static page or multiple-page applications. Viewers will perceive a greater sense of unity in a composition when they see or sense visual connections through the alignment of elements, objects, or edges. Alignment is the positioning of visual elements relative to one another so that their edges or axes line up. Alignment TESCO FINEST: IDENTITY AND PACKAGING PENTAGRAM, LONDON
Elements should be arranged so that the audience is led from one element to another through the design. Flow is also called movement and is connected to the principle of rhythm. Rhythm, in part, is about a sense of movement from one element to another. Flow
Scale and Proportion • In a design, scale is the size of an element or form seen in relation to other elements or forms within the format. • Along with utilizing fundamental principles, one must control scale for the following reasons: • Manipulating scale can lend visual variety to a composition. • Scale adds contrast, dynamism, and positive tension to relationships between and among shapes and forms. • Manipulation of scale can create the illusion of three-dimensional space. • Proportion is the comparative size relationships of parts to one another and to the whole. • Elements or parts are compared to the whole in terms of magnitude, measure, and/or quantity.
Mathematical Proportion • Most designers prefer to rely on their learned and innate sense of proportion; however, some employ graphic devices that can aid in establishing harmony, such as Fibonacci numbers and the golden section, among others. (LEFT) FIBONACCI SQUARES (RIGHT) GOLDEN RATIO (8.5” x 11” PAGE)
Volume • A plane is a two-dimensional surface bound by lines that defines the outside of a form, a volume. • A plane has length and breadth but no thickness; it has position and direction. • Volume is the representation of mass on a two-dimensional surface; it can be bound by planes and has position in space. It also is called mass. • Form as volume creates the illusion of three-dimensional space on a two-dimensional surface. • Volume on a two-dimensional surface can be defined as the illusion of a form with mass or weight (a shape with a back as well as a front). PROGRESSION FROM POINT TO VOLUME
The Picture Plane and Depth • When you set out to create a design on a two-dimensional surface, you begin with a blank, flat surface. That surface is called the picture plane. • The illusion of spatial depth means the appearance of three-dimensional space, where some things appear closer to the viewer and some things appear farther away—just as in actual space.
The Picture Plane and Depth • We tend to see graphic elements in terms of three main planes: • the foreground (the part of a composition that appears nearest the viewer) • the middle ground (an intermediate position between the foreground and the background) • and the background (the part of a composition that appears in the distance or behind the most important part) DIRECTION: MAGAZINE COVER PAUL RAND
Summary • Design principles underpin every effective visual solution. Without a complete understanding of two-dimensional design, a designer creates primitively rather than with design intelligence. • The formal elements of two-dimensional design are line, shape, color, and texture. • A line is an elongated point, considered the path of a moving point. • The general outline of something is a shape; it is a configured or delineated area on a two-dimensional surface. • Figure/ground, also called positive and negative space, is a basic principle of visual perception and refers to the relationship of shapes, of figure to ground, on a two-dimensional surface.
Summary • The figure or positive shape is a definite shape; it is immediately discernible as a shape. The shapes or areas created between and among figures are known as the ground or negative shapes. • The colors we see on the surfaces of objects in our environment are perceived and known as reflected light or reflected color. • The digital colors seen in screen-based media are also known as additive colors—mixtures of light. • Value refers to the level of luminosity—lightness or darkness—of a color. • The actual tactile quality of a surface or the simulation or representation of such a surface quality is a texture.
Summary • Pattern is a consistent repetition of a single visual unit or element within a given area. • The basic principles of design are absolutely interdependent. • The format is the defined perimeter as well as the field it encloses—the outer edges or boundaries of a design. • Balance is stability or equilibrium created by an even distribution of visual weight on each side of a central axis as well as by an even distribution of weight among all the elements of the composition. • Symmetry is a mirroring of equivalent elements, an equal distribution of visual weights, on either side of a central axis.
Summary • Asymmetry is an equal distribution of visual weights achieved through weight and counterweight, by balancing one element with the weight of a counterpointing element, without mirroring elements on either side of a central axis. • To guide the viewer, the designer uses visual hierarchy, the arrangement of all graphic elements according to emphasis. • Emphasis is the arrangement of visual elements according to importance, stressing some elements over others, making some superordinate (dominant) elements and subordinating other elements. • In graphic design, a strong and consistent repetition pattern of elements can set up a rhythm, similar to a beat in music, which causes the viewer’s eyes to move around the page.
Summary • Repetition occurs when you repeat one or a few visual elements a number times or with great or total consistency. • Variation is established by a break or modification in the pattern or by changing elements, such as the color, size, shape, spacing, position, and visual weight. • Unity occurs when all the graphic elements in a design are so interrelated that they form a greater whole. • Alignment is the positioning of visual elements relative to one another so that their edges or axes line up. • Flow is also called movement and is connected to the principle of rhythm. • In a design, scale is the size of an element or form seen in relation to other elements or forms within the format.
Summary • Proportion is the comparative size relationships of parts to one another and to the whole. • Some designers employ graphic devices that can aid in establishing harmony, such as Fibonacci numbers and the golden section, among others. • A form can give the illusion of having weight, mass, or solidity. • Volume is the representation of mass on a two-dimensional surface; it can be bound by planes and has position in space. • The illusion of spatial depth means the appearance of three-dimensional space, where some things appear closer to the viewer and some things appear farther away—just as in actual space.