The Lost Principles of Design

The Lost Principles of Design
In the instant age that design has evolved into recently many of us often stray away from the basics. If you had a professor in college who taught you the fundamentals of design these may be engrained into your head. For the self-taught, you may have a book on your desk with these very principles. However, the more and more people that flood the internet for design content need to learn the basics before trying to make a stellar gradient in Photoshop. While this is cool and amazing right now, there will come a point where this style is strayed away from and a new style is made. In history, this lesson has repeated itself with movements like the Bauhaus and Swiss Modernism and will soon come label our current trends as part of history. The fundamentals of design will however, never change. They are the glue that holds the industry together and we need to learn & take them to heart.
Balance
Arranging parts to achieve a state of equilibrium between forces of influences.
Examples: Symmetrical, Asymmetrical, Radial
Contrast
Interaction of contradictory elements. Expresses the duality seen in opposites.
Examples: Large & Small, rough & smooth, thick & thin, light & dark, organic & geometric
Emphasis & Subordination
Establishing centers of interest which focus the viewer’s attention. If all the elements are given relatively equal weight, there will be no emphasis.
Directional Forces
Both implied and actual, they help guide the eye and mind movement of the viewer. They can also bind the work into a single entity.
Proportion
The size relationship of parts to the entire work, and each to the other. Very often associated with figural art.
Scale
The real apparent size of an object seen in relation to other objects, people, its environment, or the proportions of the picture plane.
Repetition & Rhythm
The recurrence of a design element coupled with a certain order to the repetition. Provides continuity, flow, direction forces etc.
Unity within Variety
The force operating within a work of art which can give it the appearance of oneness or resolution. The consistency of the concept.
When a a variety of these are combined a design becomes very successful and hard to ignore. It is something that commands attention, guides your eye through and keeps you visually entertained. Combining these together is referred to as Gestalt – a configuration, pattern, or organized field having specific properties that cannot be derived from the summation of its component parts; a unified whole.

Fast access, global demand, short deadlines and quick turnaround have made it all too easy to stray away from the basics of design. If you had a professor in college who taught you design fundamentals, the basics should be engrained in you. If you are self-taught, you may have a book on your desk that you refer to on a daily basis. For the masses, the internet is both a valuable resource, and possibly the source of a design epidemic.

People have flooded the internet looking for design content, and while you might not need to learn the basics before attempting a stellar gradient in Photoshop, there will come a point where this style is left behind and a new style reaches popularity. In history, this lesson has repeated itself with movements like ‘Bauhaus‘ and ‘Swiss Modernism‘ which will soon label our current trends as part of design history.

The fact is, the fundamentals of design will never change. They are the glue that holds the design industry together and to reach success, we need to learn these from the very beginning.

Balance

Arranging parts to achieve a state of equilibrium between forces of influences.

Examples: Symmetrical, Asymmetrical, Radial

Principles-01

Principles-02

Contrast

Interaction of contradictory elements. Expresses the duality seen in opposites.

Examples: Large & Small, rough & smooth, thick & thin, light & dark, organic & geometric

Principles-03

Principles-04

Emphasis & Subordination

Establishing centers of interest which focus the viewer’s attention. If all the elements are given relatively equal weight, there will be no emphasis.

Principles-05

Directional Forces

Both implied and actual, they help guide the eye and mind movement of the viewer. They can also bind the work into a single entity.

Principles-06

Proportion

The size relationship of parts to the entire work, and each to the other. Very often associated with figural art. (the image shows the Golden Ratio)

Principles-07

Scale

The real, apparent size of an object seen in relation to other objects, people, its environment, or the proportions of the picture plane.

Principles-08

Repetition & Rhythm

The recurrence of a design element coupled with a certain order to the repetition. Provides continuity, flow, direction forces etc.

Principles-09

Unity within Variety

The force operating within a work of art which can give it the appearance of oneness or resolution. The consistency of the concept.

Principles-10

When any variety of these principles are combined a design becomes very successful and hard to ignore. That design commands your attention, it guides your eye through and keeps you visually entertained. Combining these principles together is referred to as Gestalt – a configuration, pattern, or organized field having specific properties that cannot be derived from the summation of its component parts; a unified whole.

Designer, Maker of Things | Creative Director – @boomtownroi You should follow him on twitter @chadengle .

 

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