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THE FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES OF EFFECTIVE GRAPHIC DESIGN

Shalom Solomon

Graphic design like any other work in creation has certain guiding principles that govern its development and creation. To be an outstanding graphic designer, to create graphic designs that actually solve problems and meet communication needs, you will need a clear understanding of the principles that govern the world of graphic design. 



Yes, it is true that seasoned graphic designers do not always follow these principles. But, in order to know when to discard or disregard these principles, you have to first understand them, their application and the consequences of disregarding them. 


Let's get to it then. 

Photo Credit: Pixabay

What are the Principles of Graphic Design?

The principles of graphic design are rules and guidelines that govern the effective use of images and other design elements to efficiently solve a communication problem. 

There are 6 principles of graphic design. 
They include: 
1. Balance 
2. Grouping
3. Repetition
4. Alignment
5. Colour and Space
6. Hierarchy

1. Balance

Balance is one very fundamental principle of design. Balance in graphic design ensures that the elements on your design are evenly distributed to ensure that focus is placed where needed. Balance can be symmetrical, in the sense that the weight of the design elements used are balanced on both sides of your work.

Assymetrical design on the other hand deals majorly in contrast. In designing, bright colors should be used to balance dark colours.
Balance does not only ensure the clarity of your work, it also makes it easy for your audience to read and understand. Balance is once again a very vital rule you should incorporate into your designs.

2. Grouping

Placing like elements in a group on your design helps to improve the clarity of your message and balance your work too. Text for the venue of a meeting for instance should be groped with the time and date for the meeting. 


You can put them in a box, literally or not, either way, grouping similar elements together makes your work organized. It also provides enough room for other elements on your design. Effective grouping or classification of your design elements helps with the movement of the message on your design. 

Movement in graphic design refers to the flow of the elements on your design. Can a reader move smoothly from one piece of information to the next without searching first? Ask yourself this question or even get an outside opinion before pushing out your work.

3. Repetition

The primary purpose of graphic design is communication. A defining characteristic of effective communication is the quality of the message conveyed to be recalled by the receiver. This function is what amongst other benefits, repetition gives to your design. 


 In creating an outstanding design, there should be an organized uniformity of design elements. The font style used for instance should be reflected in more than only one part of the design. Colours also should be used on more than one element this will establish consistency in your work and people tend to easily remember things with consistent features. 

 This is why businesses are encouraged to use the same brand taglines, brand colours and their logos consistently on their billboards, flyers, marketing ads, website, social media handles, stationaries, souvenirs and so on.

4. Alignment

Alignment works hand in hand with the balance of your design. Although, some very creative design pieces have debunked the belief that alignment is vital to the effective passing of information. In the traditional sense, aligning the design elements on your work gives it an overall appealing look and makes it easier for the viewer to absorb the message.


Imagine reading a flyer and the heading is starts two inches from the margin, the next line of text is three inches, the next, 1.8. Not only will it be difficult to look at, it will also be a tad bit difficult to read. 

When designing, ensure that there is a set pattern your design elements follow. This rule is not only beneficial to the viewers of your work, it will also help make the design process easier for you.

5. Colour and Contrast

Colour they say, brings art to life. In essence, your design is a form of art. That is to say, the proper application of colours to your design will give it the quality to connect better with the target audience.

Colour and Contrast are two principles that when used well, bring out the beauty of your design. Your design will basically pop from the page. Now, as a designer, it might be tempting to use your favourite colours to make a design, while this is not entirely bad, you have to also understand that the design is not for you. 

It is for those you are trying to communicate to. What this means is that you should ensure that you use colours that appeal to your target audience and at the same time convey the message you are trying to pass. Different colours pass different messages and evoke emotions in those that see them. Blue for instance connotes peace, calm; red on the other hand is affiliated to passion and urgency.
Contrast is likewise important for colours using contrasting colours like Orange on a Navy Blue background will give both colours room to shine on the design and create stronger effect on those that see them.

6. Hierarchy

Last but definitely not the least is hierarchy. Hierarchy is a design principle that deals with the arrangement of design elements based on their degree of importance to the message being conveyed. Your design should ensure that the most important piece of information is seen first by the viewer.


Ask yourself what the primary message of your design is. This would help you determine where emphasis should be placed. 
You can use the weight of the element, the colour of the element or the size of the element to establish emphasis on your design. 

Let's say a pair of red stilettos are the focal point of your design, you can blur out the background. This would ensure that the first thing anyone sees on your design are the pair of stilettos.

Comments

Jhon Doe

- 20 October, 2018

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Jhon Doe

- 20 October, 2018

Lorem ipsum dolor sit, amet consectetur adipisicing elit. Accusamus numquam assumenda hic aliquam vero sequi velit molestias doloremque molestiae dicta?

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