Design 101: The Elements

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Line

This can be an actual line, or an implied edge. In the layout above, notice the difference between the cream line drawn to the left, and the edge created when two blocks of color meet. Remember, a line doesn’t have to be straight…so go ahead, be a rebel.DESIGN_ELEMENTS_line

Shape

These consist of anything that is self-contained. It may be a recognizable square or circle, learned in your toddler years, or the unnamed shape of an organic letter or stroke. Positive shapes create negative shapes. In this case, it’s ok to be negative.

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Space

When a design is too crammed with elements, there is no way for the eye to breathe. Keep it simple smarty. (This G-rated version doesn’t insult your intelligence).

Size

It matters. The size of a shape is determined by the size of other elements around it. The word “Design” is larger in contrast to the word “element.” This is a great way to create hierarchy in a layout.

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Texture

The metallic, crinkled feeling of “elements” is a clear example of texture. But, a pattern can easily add a sense of texture to a layout.

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Color

Or colour. You decide. This design features both warm and cool colors, with peachy red and minty green hues. Try to keep a balance in every design, unless you’re intentionally trying to make the audience cold or hot.

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Value

This does not address which color is used, but the saturation of that color. This design is a somewhat desaturated piece—using lighter tones instead of darker. Value, or tone, is all about creating the right visual atmosphere. Bold colors will tend to make the copy shout, or at least be very excited. Lighter colors tend to sooth, or add a vintage flare.

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For some more great explanations, check out John Lovett‘s site, or download this awesome free wallpaper from Paper Leaf.

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