“Graphic design is all about problem solving.” That’s the sign that I’ve had on my desk since the beginning of my professional career. I have never heard a truer statement. Even though I create and design logos, infographics and images for social media, and I lay out publications, I am still doing the same thing for every client—helping solve their graphic design and branding problems.
Just like all the equations you did in math class, to solve the problem first you need to know the formula, such as a2 + b2 = c2. However, unlike the Pythagorean Theorem, the graphic design equation has nothing to do with numbers. So if you weren’t the best in math, don’t worry.
When I was a design student at Ohio University’s School of Visual Communications (OU, OH YEAH!), my instructor had me read a great book called “The Non-Designer’s Design Book” by Robin Williams. It broke down graphic design into four basic principles that were easy to understand. In this article I am going to briefly touch on all four of the principles. I won’t go too in depth just yet. Each principle has its own chapter with sub-chapters, so we will dedicate a blog and/or vlog to each later on.
An easy way to remember these principles is the acronym C.R.A.P. (hee, hee, but seriously). To make it even easier, I have included an example of each principle in action (because graphic design is visual!).
Check out the principles below and get more tips, tricks and answers to your questions by subscribing to our monthly email Flexology.
Principle #1: Contrast
When designing graphics, look at the contrast on the page. Consider elements such as color, type, shape, space, line thickness, etc. If you find any of these elements are similar to each other then you need to change it to make them VERY different from one another. This is one of the most important visual attractions to a page. This will help draw the reader to the page and help them better understand the information presented.
Principle #2: Repetition
Make sure when you are designing that you are also repeating visual elements of the design throughout the project. Some of the elements you want to repeat are colors, shapes, fonts, sizes, textures, line thickness, etc. By using repetition, you strengthen the unity of your design.
Principle #3: Alignment
This principle is super straightforward; you want elements in your graphics to be aligned. You don’t want to just place elements anywhere on the page without one having some visual connection to another. This will help give your design a clean look.
Principle #4: Proximity
Just like in writing, you wouldn’t place a supporting paragraph where your introduction or closing would be. Proximity is quite similar to that. You want to group items that belong with each other closely. Items that are different should be farther away. This gives your reader an idea of the structure and helps reduce clutter which then provides organization for your project.
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