Principles of Design : Principles of Design Information from: http://desktoppub.about.com/od/designprinciples/l/aa_pod1.htm
Slides by: Joseph Micallef B.Ed(Hons) Dip.CS.Ed Slide 2: Principles of Design How you apply those principles determines how effective your design is in conveying the desired message and how attractive it appears. There is seldom only one correct way to apply each principle. Generally, all the principles of design apply to any piece you may create. Balance : Balance Visual balance comes from arranging elements on the page so that no one section is heavier than the other. Or, a designer may intentionally throw elements out of balance to create tension or a certain mood. After awhile you'll be wanting to shift your load around, putting a few marbles in the rock bag to balance your load, make it easier to walk. This is how balance works in design. Try walking a long distance with a 2 pound bag of rocks in one hand and a 10 pound bag of marbles in the other. Proximity / Unity : In design, proximity or closeness creates a bond between people and between elements on a page. How close together or far apart elements are placed suggests a relationship (or lack of) between otherwise disparate parts. Observe a group of people in a room. You can often learn a lot about who is listening intently to another person, which are strangers, or who is ignoring who by how close together they sit or stand. Unity is also achieved by using a third element to connect distant parts. Proximity / Unity Alignment : How you align type and graphics on a page and in relation to each other can make your layout easier or more difficult to read, foster familiarity, or bring excitement to a stale design. Alignment Can you imagine how difficult it would be to find your car in a crowded parking lot if everyone ignored the parking lot stripes and parked in every which direction and angle? Imagine trying to get out of there! Alignment brings order to chaos, in a parking lot and on a piece of paper. Repetition / Consistency : Repetition / Consistency Repeating design elements and consistent use of type and graphics styles within a document shows a reader where to go and helps them navigate your designs and layouts safely. What if Stop signs came in pink squares, yellow circles, or green triangles, depending on the changing whims of a town and a few of its residents? Imagine the ensuing traffic jams and accidents. Contrast : Contrast That's contrast. In design, big and small elements, black and white text, squares and circles, can all create contrast in design. On the basketball court, one pro team looks much like another. But send a few of those players for a stroll down most any major city street and something becomes apparent — those players are much taller than your average guy on the street. White Space : White Space Did you ever participate in that crazy college past-time of VW Beetle stuffing? Were you ever the guy on the bottom struggling for a breath of fresh air or the last one in trying to find a place to stick your left elbow so the door will close? It wasn't comfortable, was it? Imagine trying to drive the car under those conditions. Designs that try to cram too much text and graphics onto the page are uncomfortable and may be impossible to read. White space gives your design breathing room. Examples - Balance : Examples - Balance You can create balance with the three elements (text block, graphic, vertical text) here but in the first example they appear to be just random elements with no unity or balance. In the second "Balance" example the text block and graphic are resized to bring them closer together and better balance each other. To tie the elements together, move them closer together (resizing helps accomplish this). Notice that the graphic (one of the marbles) slightly overlaps the box enclosing the vertical text, unifying the two elements. Reversing the word "balance" out of the blue box also adds more contrast to the composition. The increased leading in the text block redistributes the white space in a more balanced manner. Examples – Proximity and Unity : Examples – Proximity and Unity The graphic anchors the bottom of the page, but the four text elements all float on the page with no apparent connection to each other (proximity/unity). The change in the headline (font change, reversed out of blue box) along with the subheading pulled in closer provides balance with the graphic on the bottom. The spacing between the two paragraphs of text is reduced slightly as well. Examples – Alignment : There is nothing inherently wrong with centered headlines, text, and graphics. They lend a formal tone to a layout. But, for this series of layouts something a bit more informal is called for. Also, large blocks of centered text are usually harder to read. In the second "Alignment" example, text alignment is left-aligned, ragged right, wrapped around the bottom graphic which is aligned more to the right, opposite an added graphic that is aligned to the right to help balance the overall design. Examples – Alignment Examples – Repetition and Consistency : Within the second "Repetition" example, the headline is repeated three times using graphics that tie in with the copy in the text blocks. The repetition of the colors in the shapes and headline text that are in the copy help to reinforce the theme. Overlapping the graphic and text elements unifies the elements of the design. Examples – Repetition and Consistency Examples – Contrast : There's isn't enough contrast between the headline and text due in part to size but also because the two different serif faces used or too similiar (not obvious from the small graphic, trust me, they are different typefaces). That oversized graphic provides real contrast and reinforces the copy (tall basketball players). Dropping the text down to the bottom portion of the page also reinforces the 'towering' aspect of the graphic. The reversed text in the blue box,the blue border, and the drop cap carries through the overall unifying elements found throughout the series. Additionally, the round shape of the drop cap and its color echo the shape and color of the basketball in the graphic. The drop cap and the reversed text on the left side plus the left-aligned text help to balance the large graphic element. Examples – Contrast Examples – White Space : Examples – White Space White space doesn't have to be white. The large block of black created by the graphic of people adds a large block of black white space. Multiplying the number of people and reducing the size of the car in the second "White Space" example provides additional contrast and reinforces the theme of the copy. Additional leading, larger margins, deeper paragraph indents all add white space or breathing room to the design.
The oversized drop cap is another element of contrast and also helps to balance the page with the large, dark elements at the bottom of the page. The drop cap style, reversed title, and blue box are consistent with the rest of the series.