Over the past few weeks we’ve been taking an intensive look at the elements of design—the basic building blocks of graphic design and composition—through real world examples. It’s great to know the theory, but applying it is where all the knowledge comes together to form a successful design.
I presented them in the order I originally did on Creative Curio in the first few posts here. When I initially chose the order, I did it from what I thought was the least complex to the most complex.
We started off with line. You can’t get much simpler than a line (except for maybe a point), but it can add volumes to your work. Lines can have organic or mechanical qualities; they can be scattered or orderly and all of this adds to the delivery of the message.
Graphic design element number two was shape. Shapes are geometric, natural or abstract. The basic shapes—circle, rectangle and triangle—all have meanings and contribute to the feeling the viewer gets from the design.
The design element of space can be a simple concept to understand, but not very easy to master. It takes an almost intuition and a comfort with leaving enough “empty” space for the design to breathe—or knowing the effect of having too little space and crafting the design to have that outcome.
Size and scale are lumped into the same category and it is difficult to talk about one without the other, but they are not the same thing. Remember that size is the physical dimensions of an object in the layout, where scale is the size of the object as it relates to its usual physical size (think of a person on a postcard).
Texture is a fun element to experiment with and use to bring realism to your designs. It can be effectively used to add visual interest and it really helps make a design unique. And textures are not just applied in the computer; you can take into consideration the materials used in the final printed pieces, too.
Value, in my opinion, is the least considered element of design. I’m not sure if that’s because its use is more intuitive or because it is often overshadowed by color. Value is important because it contributes to the unity and mood of the design.
Finally, there is color, the most complex of all the elements because of the vast and varied things that different colors can mean. There is also a theory behind certain color combinations that needs to be studied as well.
So know that you are more familiar with the seven elements of design, I’m eager to hear from you
- What do you think is the most forgotten element?
- Which do you think is the hardest to deal with?
- Which do you find the easiest?
- Do you have a favorite element?