Tag - Elements of Design

N is for Negative Space (White Space)

White space, or negative space, is just as important as positive space. White space is the area in a design that is empty. All white space contains is the background colour, whether that be white, black, blue, or any other colour.

Have you ever looked at a design and thought “what the heck is going on? There is way too much stuff. Holy clutter!”? There was a lack of white space. Negative space helps your eye transverse a design. You can tell which things are most important and which are less important. If there is no white space, you can no longer tell what is important and what is not. Everything just clutters together.

Space in itself is one of the 7 Elements of Design. Both positive and negative space are necessary for a design to succeed. So next time you are looking at a design or creating a design, don’t just focus on the text and images, keep an eye on the negative space as well!

E is for the 7 Elements of Design

The 7 elements of design are space, line, shape/form, size/scale, colour, texture, and value. All 7 are imperative to creating visually communicative and appealing designs.

#1 – Space

Space refers to both the positive and negative space in a design. The positive space being where everything is displayed (images, text, etc). And the negative space being empty. More correctly, negative space is where only a solid colour is displayed. Whether that is red, blue, black, or white!

#2 – Line

Lines are everything. Seriously.

They make up the shapes of letters, illustrations, and images. They guide your eye through an image. They invisibly form margins and the horizontal line for your text to sit on.

When used well, lines (both visible and invisible) can guide one’s eye through a design in a pleasing and informative way.

#3 – Shape/Form

Shape/form includes both inorganic and organic shapes.

Inorganic shapes are precisely geometric. So perfect circles, squares, rectangles, etc. are all inorganic shapes.

Organic shapes are more natural looking. In other words, they are not geometrically precise. Every rock is a slightly different shape. We could shave the rock down to create a perfect circle, but it would no longer be an organic shape.

#4 – Size/Scale

Size is one of the mainstays of determining importance in a design. The larger the text or image, the more importance it invokes.

#5 – Colour

Colour can be used to draw attention, evoke emotion, and/or create order. (For more on colour click here!)

#6 – Texture

Texture in a design can be accomplished with both illusion or physical texture. To create the illusion of texture, one must be creative in their use of line and shape. To create physical texture, one can use different types of paper (gloss, matte, bumpy, etc.).

#7 – Value

Value is the tones of light and dark within a design. Value can vary with the use of all the shades of grey between white and black. Every colour has value. There are dark reds and light reds and reds of every shade between.

To really see the value of colours in an image or design, change the image to greyscale. If the image has varying colour values, the image will still be clear and crisp. However, if the image lacks variance in its value, the picture will become dull and/or muddy.

Which element of design is most important to you? (I honestly cannot decide. In the end, they must work together to create a truly wonderful design!)

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