Tag Archives: design theory

Enhance Your Designs with the Principle of Economy

The design principle of economy is the embodiment of the quote from Antoine de Saint-Exupery: “Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”

What is Economy?
The Principle of Economy is the idea that you use as much as you need to communicate the message. This does not mean that the design is minimalistic, but rather that it only contains the essential.

Enhance Your Designs with the Principle of Direction

Direction is realized in the movement of the eye through a design. It helps you as a designer to draw attention to the key points of the layout. Direction gives peace to the design because as a viewer, you know exactly where to go next in the information and you are not left feeling overwhelmed. Direction is used to create focus, emphasize important areas and organize information. Learn more about this vital principle of design and see some examples of it in use.

Enhance Your Designs with the Principle of Contrast

Contrast is an opposition of attributes. It can be present in any of the elements of design–not just value with which it is commonly associated–which is why it is not grouped with them as an element. You don’t always have to make objects be in high contrast to each other, though; low contrasting items can contribute to the sense of unity within a piece.

Enhance Your Designs with the Principle of Balance

I often associate a strong sense of balance with yoga. When you do balance poses like tree, you have to make sure you are well grounded, otherwise you’ll topple over! You also have to maintain a sense of strength in your core and pushing your foot against your leg helps you offset having your leg turned out to the side.

Balance in design is the same way. The balance of a piece is like the underlying structure, the core, than supports the rest of the design.

As you read, notice the uses of the elements and principles of design. See how balance depends on them and helps create and support other principles.

Improving Your Designs with the Principles of Design

The elements and principles of design are two distinct categories of theories, building blocks and practices that make up the discipline of design. They give us a common language so that we can effectively discuss and critique designs. They also aid us in the design process because the principles and elements of design give us a guide or a standard to reference when we feel our design is lacking.

I have a sticky note that I keep tacked up next to my monitor that lists the elements and principles and two questions:

* How do each affect the mood?
* How do each contribute to the message and the delivery of that message?

How to Create a Fresh Mood with the Elements of Design

Some people find it mysterious that designers and artists can create a specific look and feel for a piece. They are baffled by how much the design emanates a particular mood. I think sometimes even other designers and artists wonder how the piece so captures a particular emotion!

If you can put aside the belief that it is magic, and take a close look, you’ll find it’s not so mysterious after all. Study how a layout uses the elements of design, pick apart the use of line and value, notice the color palette.

Let’s take a “fresh” look as an example and break it down.

The Elements of Graphic Design Review

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 […]

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