You leisurely stroll down the aisle and look left and right, there are so many objects and colors that catch your wandering eye. You recognize the familiar vibrant red Cheez-It box with the cartoons of different cheese’s on the back, and the red flag against the classic yellow French’s mustard bottle with blue messaging. Our eyes are drawn to familiar and pleasing advertisements. Our eyes are drawn to images with appropriate layout, contrast, and typography.
The design or arrangement of something.
Whenever you are looking at an image or a graphic, your eyes need somewhere to start. They need something to grab their attention, and then a road map of a route for them to follow. That is called the Pinball Theory of Dynamic Layout, “think of your layout in terms of a pinball, and the ability of that layout to keep the eye on the playing surface, touching upon all elements within the layout,” Chapter 4: “Layout,” from The 7 Essentials of Graphic Design by Allison Goodman.
Everything about a graphic’s layout is critical. “A layout should provide specific direction to the viewer. A successful layout is very clear about what information is most important and the order in which the viewer should access all the information within the design. This is called the information hierarchy.” Chapter 4: “Layout,” from The 7 Essentials of Graphic Design by Allison Goodman.
If there is a successful desgin hierarchy there is a definitive purpose in every part of the design; there is a reason for the commonalities as well as the differences. There are a mutilitude of effective strategies in planing a design with a clear hierarchy. One of those strategies is depth. Graphic design is most traditionally represented on a flat surface, but you can provide depth in many different ways.
Depth by Color
Warm colors normally appear closer, while cooler colors normally appear farther from the viewer. It is important to contrast the color of the background with the foreground in order to create difference, and in turn the depth by color.
Depth by Linear Perspective
This is what is usually referred to as perspective, “
A layout is a design for the overall appearance of a graphic, it has a particular emphasis on the effective positioning and arrangement of page elements. It is important to know that “understanding that people will see our designs in terms of relationships is crucial to becoming a more effective designer,” Understanding Visual Hierarchy in Web Design.
The arrangement of opposite elements to create visual interest, excitement and drama.
Contrast plays a large part in an effective layout of the graphic in the sense of knowing what to look at first, and in its ability to create depth. “Contrast doesn’t just make a design visually engaging- it can also be the prime organizing factor for a designs information,” Chapter 3: “Contrast,” from The 7 Essentials of Graphic Design by Allison Goodman. Similar to the different ways to create depth in a design, there are also many way to create contrast in a graphic.
Contrast in Size
Your eyes are normally drawn to the object or text that is bigger in size. It is natural for your eyes to gravitate towards the larger objects because those are the ones that hold the most signifgance in the visual.
Contrast in Color
Contrast in color might seem obvious as it “is arguably one of the key principles of design” Pluralsight. The choise of color in a graphic is crutial in the design process. It is hard balance between the contrast for effect, and then choosing two colors that are pleasing to the eye. Below are two examples, the first one being a very hard contrast, and the second more pleasing to the eye.
The artful representation of words.
Finally one of the most important aspects of graphic design is the Typography. If you can not read something then there is no point in even advertising it. The information needs to be clear and extremely readable. “The consumer may not notice your clever creation of a ligature or or your subtle shifting of text alignment doesn’t mean that your efforts aren’t crucial to the message. With these type basics, you can communicate anything,” Chapter 2: “Typography,” from The 7 Essentials of Graphic Design by Allison Goodman.
Each different typeface represents a different personality and it is important for the designer to understand the message that the typeface presents. “A designer should always consider, and take advantage of, the message a typeface naturally communicates,” Chapter 2: “Typography,” from The 7 Essentials of Graphic Design by Allison Goodman.On a broader scale fonts (a family of typefaces) can still represent different moods.
Below is a video that further delves into the specifics of typography and gives great visuals.
“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”