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Bible On Design Principles

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Man has for a very long time used visual tools as a means to communicate. This is spectacularly demonstrated in the rock art of the Caves of Lascaux. In contemporary society, communication has, to some extent, become more complex. In the advertising, entertainment industry and technology industry, people are constantly finding innovative ways to connects businesses and people using visual tools. This raises the question of how best can we do this. The ReFUEL4 platform looks at this issue by marrying data and the creativity of designers.

Caves of LACAUX.png

If you have just started working on ReFUEL4 briefs, I would like to share my knowledge about the principles of graphic design and how to apply them so that the creative output of your next brief is significantly more effective.

To begin, it is important to set out the meaning of basic terms of composition, This covers the distribution or location of design elements on a plane. These elements are diverse in nature: dots, lines, shapes, colors, images, fonts and textures. Through the composition, these elements are related to the purpose of constructing and communicating a message. In short, the composition consists of a system of interrelations that produce a unity. The unit factor is fundamental in the design organization. To achieve an effective design, we must not only unite the parts in an organic whole, but we must do so in a way that is interesting.

Design principles guide artists in solving visual problems. You will learn that the language of art helps organize a graphic material, but it does not direct creativity to express ideas and feelings. Here are some design principles and how they help you classify an artistic object. Try and become familiar with them and decide how each one is to be used in the brief you are working on. 

#1.  Unity

When a set of organized bodies are related to each other, they can represent ONE. Each element on the plane exerts forces and tensions and together create unity. The value of the unit is greater than the simple sum of elements. Some principles about unity are: • Continuity • Repetition • Proximity. 

1 Unity.png#2. Variety

This is the organization of contrasting elements within the whole. They refer to all the elements available for the construction of the composition. The objective of variety is to arouse interest. Differences that give a visual and conceptual design interest: in particular the use of contrast, emphasis, difference in size and color. Variety refers to all the elements available for the construction of the composition, such as: • Shapes • Colors • Textures • Illustrations • Photographs • Outlines • Effects • Backgrounds • Typographies.

2 Variety.png #3. Contrast

Defined as the contraposition, comparison or remarkable difference that exists between the elements. It can be expressed as the combination and relation of shapes, colors, sizes, textures, position of elements in a defined space, seeking a harmonious concordance between its parts. It also indicates absence of monotony and indicates the existence of two or more elements. Contrast can be achieved through multiple joints such as: • Color • Tone • Shape • Texture • Size • Contour • Typography • Scale.

3 Contrast.png

#4. Emphasis - Center of Interest

This may involve the exact reproduction of the elements, grouping the elements according to the proximity of each other and their visual characteristics that they share. The repetition can be given by size, contour or profile, and by details. • Color Repeat, • Texture Repeat, • Direction Repeat, • Position Repeat, • Space Repeat, • Repeat Gravity.

4 Emphasis.png

#5. Rhythm

Rhythm is a sequence or repetition of elements (lines, contours, shapes or colors), which can be constant or alternating, or affected by color, texture, shape and position, achieving a pleasant, harmonious and rhythmic composition in the sequence of elements. Within the types of rhythm, we can find: • monotonous rhythm and • dynamic rhythm. 

5 Rhythm.png

#6. Modulation – plot

The module is an element adopted as a unit of measure to determine the proportions between different parts of a composition and which is systematically repeated in space. Modules are identical or similar shapes that appear more than once in a design. Modules can be easily discovered and must be simple or if the repeating effect is not lost. 

6 Modulation.png

#7. Movement

It is constructed from repeated elements, obtained by altering any of the characteristics (color, position, size) of the elements, generating a visual hierarchy. The compositions must clearly define the lines of action that determine their shape. These lines are their guidelines, which we can understand as the line, surface or figure that determines the conditions of generation of another line, figure or surface.

7 Movement.png#8. Balance

Balance is the organization of elements so that nothing dominates part of a work, or seems heavier than any other part. The three different types of equilibrium are symmetrical, asymmetrical, and radial. 

8 Balance.png#9. Hierarchy

The unity of a composition requires that the tension between forces and the stimuli caused be integrated by a dominant element. The dominant element is supported and complemented by other elements in the condition of subordination. We have Hierarchy by: • Reading order • Size • Color • Layout • Location • Element layout. 

9 Hierarchy.png

My suggestion when you work on a brief is to bear in mind the importance of choosing the elements that will form your creative proposal and how they are to be distributed in the space available so that the form best fits the design goal and brand guidelines. It is vital that we know, beforehand, what compositional scheme and what kind of balance we will use to control the weights and establish the layout of the graphic concept.

An interesting point to consider during the compositional process is that the elements that are situated to the right, possess greater visual weight, and transmit us a feeling of progress. Those on the left side, give us a feeling of lightness. If we use the figure in the upper part of the format, it will be lighter than the elements that we place in the lower part, which will represent greater visual weight.


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