At first glance, graphic design can seem very overwhelming. There is an art to creating content that is visually engaging while conveying a clear message. That being said, don’t get discouraged if you haven’t got a degree or experience as a graphic designer. The following 6 elements are the key to creating a graphic design that not only has eye-catching style elements but also communicates a clear and engaging message.
Rule number one of good design is that all elements should be grouped in a way that intentionally draws the viewer’s eye to certain aspects in a certain order. While grouping similar elements together in varying sizes may seem like a scattered approach, in all actuality it gives the design continuity and unity. Pieces that are linear tend to appear more amateurish and leave the viewer unsure where to look first.
One of the fundamentals of graphic design is alignment. It helps to create a sharp and ordered appearance by ensuring there is harmony between the elements. When the objects within a design are properly aligned, the messiness that comes with randomly placed items disappears. There are many methods to align a design and they all have the same end goal: to have an intentional, consistent design that is visually appealing.
When visual elements are repeated, a special emphasis is placed on particular aspects that draw the viewer's attention in an effective and memorable way. This helps the graphic designer to strengthen the look of the design while tying together different elements in an organized manner. Consistency and repetition work in tandem to ensure that your branding, content, and overall style are recognizable.
Contrast lets you draw out the most important elements of a design to add extra emphasis to them. When the contrast on an image is good, your design stands out. The most effective manner to use contrast to help your message hit its intended target is to choose design elements that are in opposition to each other. One such example is the mixing of modern and traditional elements of design. This helps to guide the viewer's eye and show them what they should be looking at while presenting the content in a manner that is easily comprehensible.
Once feared, white space can be a very effective tool if the project calls for it. While images can appear cluttered, white space helps to send a direct message. It allows for the information to be read clearly, the graphic elements to shine and it’s easier for your brain to process. Don’t be afraid of white space, it can really enhance your design.
Adding multiple elements to a design can cause the message to become muddled. Hierarchy eliminates the confusion by giving extra weight visually to what is most important in your design. This can be done in many different ways with some of the most common being larger or bolded fonts, using shapes or borders to frame your focal point or by doing something as simple as placing the most important part of your design higher than the other points.
Developing an eye for visuals is a skill that can take a while to develop and not everyone has a flair for design. However by adding these 6 elements of graphic design, you are elevating your content to the next level and creating graphic designs that are not only attractive but clearly convey your message and open the lines of communication with your intended audience.