Graphic design is a sought-after skill that can help produce high-end designs to promote brands at a national and international scale. Adding graphics to your design can help you showcase your creative skills and make a good impression on your clients. Graphic design courses can equip students with the necessary skills to apply for a position in the fields of advertising or marketing across all business sectors.

This article will take a look at the basic graphic design principles that can help you create a design in a stylistic and customised manner.

1.Balance

This refers to the distribution of the graphic design elements, such as shapes, text boxes and images, of a design evenly throughout a certain layout. Designers can choose between a balanced (stable) design or off-balanced (dynamic) layout. In the context of graphic design, balance is of three types.

  • Symmetrical – This type of design is formed along a vertical axis and or horizontal axis, where the weight of the elements is evenly divided into both sides of the layout.
  • Asymmetrical – This type of balance employs scale, contrast and colour to even out the flow of a layout. It is usually found in websites, where two sides of a webpage differ from each other but contain similar elements.
  • Radial– Here, the elements of a design are placed in a circular pattern on the layout. This provides a sense of movement and dynamism to the eyes of the viewer.

2.Alignment

This fundamental aspect of a design which creates a visual connection between elements such as images, shapes or blocks of texts. Alignment helps develop a sharp and ordered appearance by eliminating any distortion within the layout. It represents the scale of each element by comparing their proportion and focusing on the elements that can have a strong impact on users. 

3.Hierarchy

This method combines two aspects, dominance and priority, giving extra weight to certain elements of a design over others. It helps brands convey their message to the audience by focusing on a particular element of the design. Hierarchy can be achieved by:

  • Highlighting the title using large or bold fonts;
  • Placing the key message at a higher level than other elements;
  • Adding shapes to frame the focal view;
  • Implementing detailed and colourful visuals.

4.Contrast

Contrast is an important principle in any form of visual art as it guides the customer’s attention to the key elements of a design. It is essential for maintaining the distinction between similar elements in a design, thereby enhancing a layout’s overall legibility. Contrast is formed when design elements are placed in opposition on a layout, for example:

  • Dark vs light;
  • Thick vs thin;
  • Contemporary vs traditional;
  • Large vs small.

5.Rhythm

Rhythm brings together different elements to create a more organised and consistent look. Repetition of certain elements such as logos or colour can help make a brand easily recognisable and strengthen the overall look. Rhythm is classified into two types;

  • Fluid – This adds a significant amount of variation to the design, keeping the flow in a single direction.
  • Progressive – Progressive rhythm is based on a clear sequence which controls the visual movement of the audience between the different elements.

6.Proximity

Proximity helps in decluttering the overall design by creating a relationship between related elements. It forms a visual connection among important design factors such as colour, font, type or size, ensuring the layout is balanced to form a perfect design. It enables the audience to have a pleasant overview of what they are looking at, thereby offering a good user experience.

7.Colour and space 

Choosing the right colour can help define the tone of the design. Designers can choose from a wide range of colour combinations for the background and text of the layout. Space refers to the area around or between the various elements of the design. It can either be used to create shapes or highlight the important aspects of a design. Graphic designers use a colour palette to choose colours that can create contrast or even work together to complement other elements.

Graphic design courses can help you earn a broad base of knowledge on:

  • Branding;
  • Computer graphic applications;
  • Corporate identity and logotype design;
  • Digital publishing;
  • Illustration;
  • Topography;
  • Visual communication;
  • Visual merchandising;
  • Web design.

London College of Contemporary Arts (LCCA) offers an undergraduate HNC/HND in Graphic Design course and a professional short-term course of CPD Graphic Design. You can apply to one of these courses and unleash your creative potential!

This article was written by Deblina Dam and edited by Ameli Hayway-Cole.