There are 7 specific design principles you should try to follow whenever you are creating a graphic design. These elements or principles can help you create wonderful layouts that are both effective and pleasing to the eye. They can also teach you to communicate a visually better message to your target audience through your designs.
Lines, in graphic design, can be used for a wide range of purposes: connecting content, stressing a word or phrase, forming patterns etc. Lines can be vertical, horizontal, diagonal, circular, patterned, free form or solid. They are used as roadmaps to direct the viewer’s eye movements. If you use trees for example, which are standing straight up (vertical), there is no movement felt by the viewer. On the other hand if you have the trees bent at an angle this will make the viewer feel motion and a sense of movement.
The three basic types of shapes are Geometric (Circles, Squares, Triangles etc.), Natural (leaves, mountains, people etc.) and abstract (icons, stylizations and graphic representations). They give volume to the forms in a design. You don’t always have to use similar shapes in your design work; instead you can mix it up and put them together making sure that the placement of them keeps your piece balanced. Sometimes adding just a small shape to a blank area will make the piece look more balanced.
People process color in the artwork subconsciously. Colour is used to generate emotions, define significance, create graphic interest and unify branding. To establish mood, build appeal, create interest and get a message across, color is the most powerful tool in your graphic design arsenal. The Color Wheel is a great tool for a graphic designing artist and you will use it repeatedly to create a great piece of artwork.
Texture relates to the surface of an object, where it creates an illusion of a surface that is not flat or smooth. By using texture, we can add depth and visual interest in graphic design. It enhances a sense of feel, especially with two-dimensional images. In graphic design, texture can take the form of layers or progression of text, lines or shapes, which can be applied in the form of pattern or through the choice of printable surface.
The functionality of a graphic design layout centers heavily on this element – size. In graphic design, size is used to express importance, draw attention and create contrast. People generally use size to attract attention to the most important part in the design; typically, a larger sized object or form attracts the most eyeballs inside an artwork. Also, different sizes within the same graphic design or layout create a order of dominance. So, you must learn to use variations in size to guide the observer’s eye through the track you want it to take.
How light or dark an area looks in a design is termed as Value. It is everything from the blackest of blacks through to the lightest of whites. If you learn to use values in the right manner, it will add enormous depth, contrast and emphasis to your design. The knowledge of Value plays a big role when you want to express the illusion of movement or bring one element into sharp focus while another fades into the background.
An important part of any good graphic design, Space is the area around the elements in a design, which is used to separate or group information. You must learn to use it effectively to define importance and lead the eye to where you want it to travel. In design language, white space is called negative space, which is used to connect, separate or maximize the relationship between the elements making up the design. Space can also be effectively used to give the illusion of depth or multi-dimension to the observer.
There are many more principles of graphic designing, but these are the essential ones. As a graphic designing student, you must think of these principles as guidelines to help you understand what is visually appealing and why it’s appealing in the designs you see.