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Basic Ideas in Graphic Design

Karl Fredrick M. Castro February 2008 2 !illi"an #ni$ersity Du"aguete City% &egros 'riental

Graphic Design
Graphic design is the process of creating the appearance of a publication, presentation, or web site in an attractive, logical manner. When done successfully, it attracts attention, adds value to a message, enhances readership and readability, simplifies, organizes, provides selective emphasis, and creates unity.

!teps in the Graphic Design (rocess


Analyze the audience. Determine the purpose of your message. Decide where and how your message will appear (whether it will be a printed publication, presentation, or web site . !stablish goals. "rganize te#t and graphics. $hoose an appropriate format and layout. %elect appropriate typefaces, type sizes, type styles, and spacing. Add and manipulate graphics. "rganize te#t and graphics. &roofread 'evise and fine(tune.

$reating !ffective )ayouts


A layout is the arrangement of type and graphics on a printed publication, presentation, or web site. A good layout should serve the purpose intended by the designer, organize the information and graphics in order to create a visual path for readers to follow, and attract the attention of readers. *here+s no one right way to create a good layout.

"rganizing )ayouts
Good layouts are easy to follow and provide clear reader cues to help readers easily find their way through a publication, presentation, or web page. ,f readers have to wor- at finding their way through a publication, they probably won+t read it. Arrange and emphasize your information to ma-e your message as clear as possible. *he .uality of your layout determines how .uic-ly your readers will be directed through the publication and how fast they will be able to read it.

Guidelines )or 'rgani*ing +ayouts


&osition important information in the upper left corner. *he upper left corner is usually .read first

Guidelines )or 'rgani*ing +ayouts


/se different sizes of type for different elements. !stablish a hierarchy of type sizes for headlines, subheads, te#t, etc. and be consistent with formatting. (All headlines should be formatted ali-e, all subheads should be formatted ali-e, all te#t should be formatted ali-e, etc. 0a-e the most important element you want your readers to see the largest and the least important element the smallest. /se rules (lines to separate information into groups. /se different weights of type.

Guidelines )or 'rgani*ing +ayouts


/se white space for design purposes in your publication. /se colored or reversed type (white type on a dar- bac-ground to separate or emphasize. $all attention to lists of items by placing bullets in front of them.

Guidelines )or Capturing the ,eaders- .ttention


!nlarge a graphic or photo of something small, so it will cover a large area.

Guidelines )or Capturing the ,eaders- .ttention


*ilt an image or a bloc- of type at an angle.

Guidelines )or Capturing the ,eaders- .ttention


%urround a small element, such as a blocof type or a graphic, with lots of white space.

Guidelines )or Capturing the ,eaders- .ttention


/se bright colors for publications, presentations, or web sites that will be viewed in dar- or gray environments. %et important information in an atypical way, such as in a distinctive font.

Guidelines )or Capturing the ,eaders- .ttention


/se a solid blac- area or a large white area in your design.

Guidelines )or Capturing the ,eaders- .ttention


$rop an image in an unusual way.

/he 0le"ents o) Design


When creating a new layout, you should begin with the basic elements of design1 line, shape, te#ture, space, size, value, and color. *hese basic elements can produce many different layouts depending on how they+re used.

+ine
)ine is any mar- connecting two points. 0any different types of lines appear everywhere. )oo- around you and you+ll see lines that are straight, curved, s.uiggly, thin, fat, and dotted.

+ine
"rganize information. 2ighlight or stress words. $onnect pieces of information. "utline a photo or set it off from other elements. $reate a grid. (A grid is the underlying structure of a page. $reate a chart or graph. $reate a pattern or rhythm by drawing many lines. Direct the reader+s eye or create a sense of motion. ($reate a sense of action by using a diagonal line. %uggest an emotion.

!hape
Anything that has height and width has shape. /nusual shapes can be used to attract attention. *here are basically three types of shapes. Geometric shapes, such as triangles, s.uares, rectangles, and circles, are regular and structured. *hese shapes wor- very well as building bloc-s for graphic design. 3atural shapes, such as animals, plants, and humans, are irregular and fluid. Abstracted shapes, such as icons, stylized figures, and graphic illustrations, are simplified versions of natural shapes.

!hape
$rop a photo in an interesting way, such as in an oval. %ymbolize an idea. 0a-e a bloc- of te#t more interesting by setting the te#t into a shape. $reate a new format. 2ighlight information. 4ou could add a screened or tinted shape to highlight important information.

/e1ture
*e#ture is the loo- or feel of a surface. 4ou can add richness and dimension to your layouts with te#ture. 5isual te#ture creates an illusion of te#ture on a printed publication or web page. &atterns, such as the images printed on wrapping paper, are a type of visual te#ture. *actile te#ture can actually be felt. &ublications can be printed on te#tured paper that readers can feel.

/e1ture
Give a printed publication, presentation, or web page a mood or personality. $reate contrast for interest. 6ool the eye. &rovo-e emotions. $reate a feeling of richness and depth.

!pace
%pace is the distance or area between or around things. %pace separates or unifies, highlights, and gives the eye a visual rest.

!pace
Give the eye a visual rest. $reate ties between elements. 2ighlight an element. &ut a lot of white space around something important to call attention to it. 0a-e a layout easy to follow. 0a-e type as legible as possible.

!i*e
%ize is how large or small something is. %ize is very important in ma-ing a layout functional, attractive, and organized. ,t shows what is most important, attracts attention, and helps to fit the layout together.

!i*e
%how which element is the most important by ma-ing it the largest. 0a-e all elements easy to see. Attract attention. $ontrast two elements to create interest. !stablish a consistent loo- throughout a printed publication or web page.

2alue
5alue is the lightness or dar-ness of an area. *hin- in terms of the spectrum from blac- to white and the many shades of gray in between. !ach shade on this spectrum has a value, from the very lightest to the very dar-est. 5alue separates, suggests mood, adds drama, and creates the illusion of depth.

2alue
)ead the eye across a page, such as running a darto light graded area in a bac-ground. $reate a pattern. Give the illusion of volume and depth by adding shading to an area. $reate an image of lightness or dar-ness. 0a-e a layout dramatic with large areas of dar- or light shading. !mphasize an element. 0a-e ob7ects appear to be in front of or behind each other.

$olor
$olor in layouts can convey moods, create images, attract attention, and identify ob7ects. When selecting colors for a publication or a web page, thin- about what you want the color to do and what is appropriate for your purpose.

$olor
2ighlight important elements such as headlines and subheads. Attract the eye. %ignal the reader where to loo- first. $reate an image or a mood. *ie a layout together. "rganize. Group elements together or isolate them. &rovo-e emotion.

$olor
,eds !nergy, &assion, &ower, !#citement 'ranges 2appy, $onfident, $reative, Adventurous 3ello4s Wisdom, &layful, %atisfying, "ptimistic Greens 2ealth, 'egeneration, $ontentment, 2armony Blues 2onesty, ,ntegrity, *rustworthiness 2iolets 'egal, 0ystic, 8eauty, ,nspiration Bro4ns !asiness, &assivity Blacks 6inality, *ransitional $olor

*he &rinciples of Design


*he principles of design help to determine how to use the design elements. *here are four principles of design1 balance, emphasis, rhythm, and unity. *hese principles of design help you to combine the various design elements into a good layout.

8alance
8alance is an e.ual distribution of weight. !ach element on a layout has visual weight that is determined by its size, dar-ness or lightness, and thic-ness of lines. *here are two basic approaches to balance. *he first is symmetrical balance which is an arrangement of elements so that they are evenly distributed to the left and to the right of center. *he second is asymmetrical balance which is an arrangement of unli-e ob7ects of e.ual weight on each side of the page. $olor, value, size, shape, and te#ture can be used as balancing elements.

8alance
%ymmetrical balance can communicate strength and stability and is appropriate for traditional and conservative publications, presentations, and web sites. Asymmetrical balance can imply contrast, variety, movement, surprise, and informality. ,t is appropriate for modern and entertaining publications, presentations, and web sites.

8alance
'epeat a specific shape at regular intervals, either horizontally or vertically. $enter elements on a page. &ut several small visuals in one area to balance a single large image or bloc- of te#t. /se one or two odd shapes and ma-e the rest regular shapes. )ighten a te#t(heavy piece with a bright, colorful visual. )eave plenty of white space around large bloc-s of te#t or dar- photographs. "ffset a large, dar- photograph or illustration with several small pieces of te#t, each surrounded by a lot of white space.

'hythm
'hythm is a pattern created by repeating elements that are varied. 'epetition (repeating similar elements in a consistent manner and variation (a change in the form, size, or position of the elements are the -eys to visual rhythm. &lacing elements in a layout at regular intervals creates a smooth, even rhythm and a calm, rela#ing mood. %udden changes in the size and spacing of elements creates a fast, lively rhythm and an e#citing mood.

'hythm
'epeat a series of similarly shaped elements, with even white spaces between each, to create a regular rhythm. 'epeat a series of progressively larger elements with larger white spaces between each for a progressive rhythm. Alternate dar-, bold type and light, thin type. Alternate dar- pages (with lots of type or dar- graphics with light pages (with less type and light(colored graphics . 'epeat a similar shape in various areas of a layout. 'epeat the same element in the same position on every page of a printed publication such as a newsletter.

!mphasis
!mphasis is what stands out or gets noticed first. !very layout needs a focal point to draw the readers eye to the important part of the layout. *oo many focal points defeat the purpose. Generally, a focal point is created when one element is different from the rest.

!mphasis
/se a series of evenly spaced, s.uare photographs ne#t to an outlined photograph with an unusual shape. &ut an important piece of te#t on a curve or an angle while -eeping all of the other type in straight columns. /se bold, blac- type for headings and subheads and much lighter te#t for all other te#t. &lace a large picture ne#t to a small bit of te#t. 'everse (use white type a headline out of a blac- or colored bo#. /se colored type or an unusual font for the most important information. &ut lists you want to highlight in a sidebar in a shaded bo#.

/nity
/nity helps all the elements loo- li-e they belong together. 'eaders need visual cues to let them -now the piece is one unit(the te#t, headline, photographs, graphic images, and captions all go together. /nify elements by grouping elements that are close together so that they loo- li-e they belong together. 'epeat color, shape, and te#ture. /se a grid (the underlying structure of a page to establish a framewor- for margins, columns, spacing, and proportions.

/nity
/se only one or two typestyles and vary size or weight for contrast throughout the publication, presentation, or web site. 8e consistent with the type font, sizes, and styles for headings, subheads, captions, headers, footers, etc. throughout the publication, presentation, or web site. /se the same color palette throughout. 'epeat a color, shape, or te#ture in different areas throughout. $hoose visuals that share a similar color, theme, or shape. )ine up photographs and te#t with the same grid lines.

Design (roble"s to .$oid


/o"bstoning ( Avoid parallel headlines, subheads, or initial caps in ad7acent columns. *ombstones are created when headlines or other highlighted type items appear ne#t to each other in ad7acent columns. A reader faced with tombstones on a page may have difficulty deciding what element to e#amine first. %olutions include changing the alignment of the columns, changing the layout of the page, or editing the te#t in one column so headlines are staggered.

Design (roble"s to .$oid

Design (roble"s to .$oid


/rapped 4hite space ( Avoid holes in the middle of publications. *rapped white space occurs when a hole appears between a headline and an ad7acent graphic, or when an article is too short to fill the column down to the ne#t headline. %olutions include ad7usting the size of the graphic to fill the hole or ad7usting the te#t so that the white space falls at the bottom of the column.

Design (roble"s to .$oid

Design (roble"s to .$oid


Claustrophobic pages ( Always provide sufficient white space (breathing room around columns of te#t. $laustrophobic pages result when columns of te#t crowd each other and the edges of a page. %olutions include increasing the size of the margins on the page and adding more white space around individual elements.

Design (roble"s to .$oid

Design (roble"s to .$oid


5hispering headlines ( 2eadlines should be significantly larger, and often bolder, that the te#t they introduce. Gray pages result when there+s not sufficient contrast between headlines and te#t. Whispering headlines fail to attract attention to the te#t they introduce.

Design (roble"s to .$oid

Design (roble"s to .$oid

Design (roble"s to .$oid


!i"ilar type)aces ( %trive for ma#imum contrast when using more than one typeface on a page or within a publication. When using different typefaces for headlines and te#t, go for contrast. Avoid typefaces that are similar in appearance (style, size, and weight .

Design (roble"s to .$oid

Design (roble"s to .$oid


#nderlining ( /nderlining undermines readability. *ry to use boldface type or italic type instead of underlining. 0ore than a few underlined words cause visual clutter and confusion. Also, it ta-es more time for readers to separate the words from the horizontal lines.

Design (roble"s to .$oid


5ido4s and orphans ( Watch for widows and orphans, which can cause unsightly gaps in te#t columns. A 4ido4 is a syllable, word, or less than one(third of a line isolated at the bottom of a column, paragraph, or page. An orphan is a word isolated at the top of a column or page.

Design (roble"s to .$oid

Design (roble"s to .$oid


Buried heads and subheads ( Avoid headlines and subheads isolated near column bottoms. 8uried headlines and subheads are followed by only one or two lines of type at the bottom of a page. *his is not only unsightly, but also distracting. *he reader+s concentration may be bro-en by the 7ump to the top of the ne#t column. %olutions include editing te#t or using uneven column bottoms.

Design (roble"s to .$oid

Design (roble"s to .$oid


/oo "any bo1es 6 rules ( Avoid overusing bo#es and rules. *oo many bordered elements on a page lead to overly compartmentalized pages. *his can easily occur in newsletters if you use a bo# to frame each page, then add internal bo#es around elements such as nameplates, mastheads, pull(.uotes, sidebars, and the table of contents. *he result is a busy effect that interferes with easy reading.

Design (roble"s to .$oid

Design (roble"s to .$oid


7u"ping hori*ons ( %tart the te#t the same distance from the top of the page throughout a document. 9umping horizons occur when te#t columns start at different locations on a page. *he up and down effect is annoying to the reader and creates an unprofessional appearance.

Design (roble"s to .$oid


01cessi$e spacing a)ter punctuation ( Avoid placing two spaces after a period at the end of a sentence. *wo spaces following periods are needed for typewritten te#t. 8ut in des-top( published type, the e#tra space creates large holes between sentences, which is especially noticeable in 7ustified type.

Design (roble"s to .$oid


Floating heads and subheads ( 8e sure headlines and subheads are closer to the te#t they introduce than to the preceding te#t. *he impact of a heading is wea-ened if it isn+t immediately clear which te#t it belongs to.

Design (roble"s to .$oid

Design (roble"s to .$oid


#ne8ual spacing ( %trive for consistent spacing between elements. &ay particular attention to the space between1 2eadlines in relation to the top and side borders and headlines and te#t %ubheads and te#t $aptions and artwor Artwor- and te#t $olumn endings and bottom margins

Design (roble"s to .$oid


01aggerated tabs and indents ( Default tabs and indents in word(processed files should be altered to be proportionate with the type size and column width. *he first lines of paragraphs are often indented too deeply.

Design (roble"s to .$oid


/oo "any type)aces ( Avoid a large mi#ture of typefaces, type sizes, and weights. Discipline yourself to use the minimum number of typefaces, type sizes, and weights necessary to organize your information and create a hierarchy of importance. !ach variation in type slows the reader down.

Design (roble"s to .$oid

Design (roble"s to .$oid


Irregularly shaped blocks o) body copy ( *his ma-es type harder to read. 6lush left type is the easiest to read. )ines without a consistent starting point ta-e more time to read and may cause readers to lose their place as they read.

9/apos na
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