Graphic design has long been a great part of brand building, and of course, a great way to show off your skills. Branding and design are, at times, inseparable, so it’s crucial to understand the basics of design before launching any new project. When working with first-time clients, you only get one chance to make a good impression, so integrating your knowledge with the right design fundamentals is a must.
Here are five foundations of graphic design:
Balance is key when it comes to creating harmony within your design projects. Balance leads to stability and structure, a way to master the beauty of flow. Shapes, images, and text boxes are all essential elements of design that require the right space and visual weight. This doesn’t necessarily mean that all the components must be equally or evenly distributed, but that they appear somewhat symmetrical within their frame.
Symmetrical balance, or when the weight of the elements is evenly divided on either side of the visual, is crucial to achieving perceptible success and a winning design. When various areas appear crowded or misplaced, it creates distortion and a form of chaos that can ruin the chances of a great design.
A hierarchy takes place when extra visual weight is established to the most significant area or message of your design. This can be accomplished in multiple ways: using bolder fonts to highlight a specific title, placing the key message above all the other elements, or adding more focus to an element by using brighter colors or more dramatic tones.
The order of the elements, how they are placed, and how well they are portrayed in a design can genuinely express an idea in the right way. Knowing how to place these items, hide some elements while highlighting others, can be a game-changer when it comes to mastering graphic design.
As we mentioned before, color is a big part of graphic design as it helps certain elements stand out, trigger a particular emotional response, or even match the identity of the brand. Color does not only dictate the overall mood of the design but can represent a company’s tonality and self-expression.
As this is the case, it’s crucial to know the psychology behind colors when it comes to graphic design. For example, bright colors can represent happiness and feelings of joy, while gold and neutral tones evoke sophistication and luxury. Blue can represent calmness, and the color green is usually displayed to express wellness and vitality. On the other hand, stronger palettes like black and brown can be bolder and represent strength. Knowing how to work with each color and create an overall balance is everything.
While we covered visual hierarchy and the importance of knowing where to place elements, negative space stands in the same priority, if not more. Negative space, or the space that’s left blank in graphic design, is crucial to creating visual correspondence. An image that becomes overcrowded with too many messages and elements can ruin the general feel of any design.
When using negative space creatively and effectively, you’ll be able to properly distribute depth and weight across your design without coming off too loud or busy. This is as vital a part of graphic design as knowing how to tone down a visual, or, vice-versa, making it stand out.
When we say repetition, we’re not talking about recreating the same design but staying consistent across all elements. This means staying true to the color palette, the overall theme, and brand identity. For example, if a brand maintains three main colors across all of their designs, using opposite colors can go against brand identity. Knowing how to represent a different design with the same feel is part of mastering graphic design.
Create a rhythm and pattern by keeping the brand in mind from every angle. Whether we’re talking about the colors, patterns, images, or the idea behind the brand, keeping all of this in mind while creating a new design can make or break your attempt.
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