Graphic Design Fundamentals

© diego cervo - Fotolia.com graphic designGraphic design isn’t rocket science, but creating an artwork that will get the message across effectively is a science. If you stick the main principles, it will set your design apart from the rest. Mastering these fundamentals will greatly improve your marketing material, as these rules apply across the board, whether you’re creating brochures, posters, email newsletters, or your business website.

Balance
Your content needs visual balance to make sure that there are no blank spaces but at the same time, the layout isn’t cramped. You can purposely make the design off-balanced to create a different mood or achieve a certain effect, but the rule of thumb is to balance the page.

White Space
This is also in line with balance. If your design has no space, it will look cramped and very difficult to read. White space in graphic design is known as breathing space and gives your design some room to breathe. Do you have enough margins all around? Do the images have padding around them? Is your design easy to read and look at, or does it lack focus because of too many elements?

Coherence
All the different elements in your design need to have a bond that links them together to create unity. Elements are laid out in relation to one other.

Alignment
This doesn’t necessarily mean that your layout should be in blocks, but following invisible lines give a semblance of order in your design. Alignment is especially important in laying out text, such as headers, product descriptions, and contact details. If you want the reader to get drawn to specific parts, you can break it out of the main copy using a different font type, colour, or size.

Consistency
Using repeated styles and elements helps the reader navigate and creates consistency in the design. Are the style elements, such as bullet points, the same colour and style throughout your design? Are you using a specific typeface for your headlines, subheads, and regular copy? Is your headline in the same position on each page? These keep the design cohesive.

Contrast
Contrast is one of the most important principles of design, whether you use large and small elements, dark and light shapes; they all create contrast. The most important elements should be larger thus giving them priority over others. Subheads can be larger than body text but smaller than the main headlines. Contrast can make the design more interesting and make the important elements stand out.

If you follow these principles, you will have an uncluttered design that gets the message across.

Written by Rob Steele writes about graphic design.