While it’s true that art is subjective, there are still some underlying principals that form the foundation of quality graphic design. These elements can be harnessed by any artist, professional or amateur, and used to help bring your inspiration to life, no matter what medium you’re using. Art is all about breaking the rules, so it’s a good idea to know what the rules are.
The simplest element of graphic design is the line. A line refers to any two connected points or any one stroke of pen or pencil. A line can be used to divide space or draw the viewer’s eye to a specific location. Like how magazines use lines to distinguish between content, side panels, and headlines.
Color is one of the more visually obvious elements of design, as well as one of the most versatile. Itcan be used in both the foreground and background, as well as being applied to shapes, lines, typography, or textures. Colors can convey the mood of a piece, and every color has many different symbolic meanings.
Whether they’re organic or geometric, shapes are a crucial element of graphic design. Shapes are areas that are confined by a boundary, like a color or a line. Shapes can be used to distinguish one part of the piece from another. It’s important to consider how the elements of your piece create shapes, and how those shapes interact.
Space, or specifically negative space, is a design element that refers to the parts of a piece that are left blank. Negative space is used to help form the overall image. The combination of negative and positive space can be used to create striking visual designs.
Even if your artwork is never going to be touched, texture is still an important element of graphic design. Texture helps to convey the emotions and tone of a piece and can be used to make two-dimensional designs appear three-dimensional.
If you’re designing something with words, then the typography you use is crucial. A text’s font tells the reader all about what they’re reading, like if they’re reading a serious news article or a fun cupcake recipe. In fact, the style of the text is just as important as the text itself.
Altering the size of entities in your design can emphasize the importance of certain areas of the piece to the viewer. It’s the same with symmetry, or the lack thereof.
Dominance & Emphasis
Placing visual important on certain elements of your design over others can emphasize the more important parts of the design to the viewer. Contrasting colors, shapes, or styles makes for striking visuals, and can create a focal point to draw the viewer’s attention.
Symmetry and asymmetry can be used to create eye-catching designs. It can also help convey the intended emotions of a piece.
Harmony is often described as the ultimate goal of graphic design. It refers to the combined effect of all the elements of a visual design. Every part of a design should contribute to the overall harmony. It’s always smart to make sure all the elements of your design are balanced the way you want them to be.