Graphic design is a design method that primarily utilizes "visuals" for communication and expression. In other words, a successful graphic design piece first and foremost contains a purpose; the overall design must be purposeful and intentional. The purpose of a piece is to achieve visual communication and evoke a purposeful response from the viewers. Visual impact has become an important design form in current graphic design, employing visual arts to deeply affect your visual senses and leave a lasting impression. In this article, we will explore how to enhance the visual impact of your work.
Four Principles of Layout
In graphic design, four frequently used and mentioned principles are Contrast, Repetition, Alignment, and Proximity.
"Contrast is the most important element of all graphic design." — Jan Tschichold
Contrast is the most critical element in all graphic design. During the design process, you can find a point of contrast and emphasize it. For example, use positive-negative space, contrasting colors, variations in thickness, size differences, bold and italic fonts, and more.
In the classic and striking cover above, designed by Emily Mahon, the vertical extension of field lines and the use of negative space direct the viewer's attention to the title "The Wealth of Nations." The designer uses elements from nature, animals, and human hands to interpret the book's content from the perspective of the relationship between humans and nature.
In the cover designed by Helen Yentus above, the designer intentionally depicts the doctor without distinct features to emphasize the universality of the book's theme.
In the poster above, successful use of contrasting techniques includes contrasting title font colors, subtitle font colors, font sizes between main title, subtitle, and main content, and the use of positive and negative shapes as graphic elements. Negative space is not synonymous with maintaining absolute minimalism. It can be a design strategy to focus the viewer's attention.
Learning graphic design from inspiration in art is essential. For example, Picasso used shades of black, white, and gray to depict a gloomy atmosphere in his painting.
Repetition is not monotonous; it's a way to quickly convey the message in an image. Repeated elements are indispensable in information design. When repeated images appear, the content and story conveyed in the image become directly evident. Repetition is a very intuitive technique.
Repetition does not necessarily mean elements remain identical. In the mural above, scientists, artists, and philosophers are all arranged in a grand hall. Figures like Plato and Aristotle are symbolically pointing, and other famous figures include Socrates, Pythagoras, and Euclid. This gathering of figures allows Raphael to express complex content with simple images.
Repetition also creates a style. It forms a brand's visual identity. Many luxury brands use repetition to establish their visual identities.
Alignment has a significant role in guiding the visual elements to create balance and form a system.
For example, in the cover above, readers can quickly deduce that the book is related to OCD. The color scheme and nearly perfect lines provide a sense of pleasure.
The style of the cover should reflect the overall style of the book. If the book's content is serious, it's unwise to mislead readers with a playful cover. This could erode the reader's trust in the designer.
Designer Jessie-Jisun Lee placed an unedited photo of the famous director David Lynch on the cover, while the font separated by squares adds a sense of mystery.
In the work "Woman in the Tub" by Du Jia, the viewer's gaze follows the curve of the bathtub, past the girl's fingers, and intersects with the table edge. The comb on the table cleverly guides the viewer's eye back to the girl's captivating body and her right hand.
Proximity refers to the relationship between elements in a design. Elements placed together should have a connection or be logically arranged.
For example, the light green color of the book cover naturally evokes thoughts of the fictitious Emerald City in the book. The juxtaposition of elements like the bucket, the lion, a person, and burlap clothing forming a complete face arouses readers' curiosity about the book's content.
The designer of the book cover above drew inspiration from the Rorschach inkblot test, a psychological test, to express the theme of the book.
Font Selection and Usage:
After discussing the four graphic design principles, the next crucial aspect is typography. Each typeface carries its own style and emotion. For instance, serif fonts evoke a sense of nobility and tradition, while sans-serif fonts give a modern, minimalist feeling. Selecting the right typeface can significantly enhance the design, while a poor choice can ruin the visual impact.
Keep in mind that readability should be a primary consideration when selecting font size for different mediums. Print paragraph text, for example, shouldn't go below 8-9 points for English. On the web, 15-20 points are recommended, with most browsers defaulting to 16 points.
Each typeface has its unique personality. Understanding the emotional response and connotations of different typefaces is crucial for effective design.
In graphic layout, the most scientific and rigorous concept is the "grid." Grids are often seen as tools that limit a designer's creativity. However, they can be immensely creative; a few rectangles can create numerous layouts. When combined with graphics, images, and text information, they offer even more creative possibilities.
The previous methods discussed are design techniques; this section emphasizes the content brought by the visuals. How to convey the story, content, and message to the audience using graphic design is the designer's task.
The combination of a crown and blood on this cover sets a tone of intrigue and suspense, hinting at a thrilling royal power struggle. While the cover doesn't provide explicit details, elements of power struggles, mystery, and royalty are clear.
The cover designed for Jules Verne's novel "Journey to the Center of the Earth" in Portuguese, created by Carlo Giovani, uses different colors, shapes, and textures to depict the Earth's layers. The cover clearly conveys the book's content through the visual elements alone.
Xenx is a convenient tool designed specifically for the iPad, aimed at making the work of creators more efficient and convenient. It provides easy access to all the shortcuts you need to work faster and more effectively. It's an excellent tool for artists using an artist tablet, especially if they want to create the best art with a focus on design art and interior design.