-a line is a mark made by a tool as it is drawn across a surface. The tool can be almost anything; it could be a pencil,
brush, a computer and mouse, or even a finger.
-Also, a line is defined as a moving dot or point, and can be called an open path.
-There are different types of lines, A line can vary in length, width, direction, feeling, curvature, value, colour and
Lines are one of the basic elements of design. Alone or in combination with other lines or shapes they can aid in the
readability, appearance, and message of a design. Use lines to:
• guide the eye
• provide movement
• make a statement
• convey universal meanings
Shape & Form
The general outline of something is a shape, and can also be defined as a closed form or path. There are many ways
to depict shapes on a two-dimensional surface. A shape is as an area that stands out from the space next to, or
around it, due to a defined or implied boundary, or because of differences of value, colour, or texture. Shapes can
also show perspective by overlapping. Shape configurations can be described on a basic level as geometric, organic,
static or dynamic.
Space and Shape
Space is the area provided for a particular purpose. It may have two dimensions (length and width), such as a
computer screen, or it may have three dimensions (length, width, and height) like a TV Studio. Space includes the
background, foreground and middle ground. Space refers to the distances or areas around, between or within
components of a piece.
There are two type of space: positive and negative space.
-Positive space refers to the space of a shape representing the subject matter.
-Negative space refers to the space around and between the subject matter.
-Composition is the organization and placement of the elements on your picture plane. These 4 elements were
compiled to make the final "space" composition above.
-Value is a design element that refers to the relationship between light and dark on a surface or object. Value is
also referred to as tone when talking about black and white images.
-Value is created by a light source that shines on an object creating highlights and shadows. It also illuminates the
local or actual colour of the subject. Value creates depth within a picture making an object look three dimensional
with highlights and shadows. A landscape creates the illusion of depth by getting lighter in value as it recedes to
Value contrast: The relationship of one element (part or detail) to another in respect to lightness and darkness.
This allows us to discern an image and perceive detail. We need value contrast in order to read words on a page. If
the words on a page are close in value to the colour of the page then it would be difficult, if not impossible, to read
them. Most text type is black and the page white in order to achieve maximum contrast.
-Colour is seen either by the way light reflects off a surface, or in coloured light sources. Colour and particularly
contrasting colour is also used to draw the attention to a particular part of the image. There are primary colours,
secondary colours, and tertiary (third level) colours. Complementary colours are colours that are opposite to each
other on the colour wheel.
The complementary colour of a primary colour (red, blue, or yellow) is the colour you get by mixing the other two
primary colours. So the complementary colour of red is green, of blue is orange, and of yellow is purple. The
complementary of a secondary colour is the primary colour that wasn't used to make it. So the complementary
colour of green is red, of orange is blue, and of purple is yellow. An easy way to determine a complementary colour
is that they are directly opposite on a colour wheel.
-Why are Complementary Colours Important in Colour Theory?
When placed next to each other, complementary colours make each other appear brighter, more intense. The
shadow of an object will also contain its complementary colour, for example the shadow of a green apple will contain
Analogous colours are colours that are found side by side on the colour wheel. These can be used to create colour
harmony. Orange, yellow-orange, and yellow are an example of analogous colours. They are blended nicely in
Sunflowers, a painting by Vincent Van Gogh. How do you know that these colours are closely related? They share a
colour—each of them contains some yellow.
Monochromatic colour schemes are derived from a single base hue, and extended using its shades, tones and tints
(that is, a hue modified by the addition of black, gray (black + white) and white). As a result, the energy is more
subtle and peaceful due to a lack of contrast of hue. Monochromatic colour schemes may be considered boring
unless there is diversity within the design.
-Warm & Cool Colours
Warm colours are a group of colours that consist of reds, yellows, and oranges. Cool colours are groups of colours
that consist of purples, greens, and blues.
All objects that surround us are made of different materials and all these materials have the property of
absorbing or reflecting light.
-The system of creating colours by mixing pigments is called subtractive, because pigments absorb (or subtract)
light from the white light that hits the paper. Only the wavelengths that are reflected combine in our eyes to
create the colour that we see.
The printing processes use subtractive colours to create all the colours that we can see on a printed surface.
-In most colour printing, the primary ink colours used are cyan, magenta, and yellow. Cyan is the complement of red,
meaning that cyan acts like a filter that absorbs red. The amount of cyan applied to a paper will control how much
red will show. Magenta is the complement of green, and yellow the complement of blue. Combinations of different
amounts of the three inks can produce a wide range of colours; this is how artwork reproductions are mass-
produced. These three inks, when combined together in equal proportions should result in black but it results in a
dark, muddy brown instead. Black ink is therefore added to the mix to obtain a real black and to give more depth to
printed images. This mixture is called CMYK.
-So, printing actually uses four colours that are considered primary: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black, abbreviated
as CMYK also known as four-colour process printing. Four–colour process is used to reproduce colour photographs,
artwork, and illustrations. The viewer perceives full colour that is created by dot patterns of cyan, magenta,
yellow, and/or black.
Texture & Pattern
-Texture is the surface quality or the perceived surface quality. In the creation of visual design, there are two
types of texture: real and implied.
-Textures range from the smoothest polished mirror to the roughest mountain range as seen from an airplane. The
term is often misused to refer only to rough surfaces but this is not correct. All surfaces have texture.
Categories of Texture
-1) Tactile (Real) Tactile means touch.
Tactile texture is the actual (3D) feel of a surface. This is of paramount importance to three-dimensional design
but of only moderate interest in two-dimensional design. Examples of this include sandpaper, cotton balls, tree
bark, puppy fur, etc.
-2) Implied (Visual)
Visual texture refers to the illusion of the surface’s texture. It is what tactile texture looks like (on a 2D
surface). The textures you see in a photograph are visual textures. No matter how rough objects in the photograph
look, the surface of the photograph is smooth and flat. The texture may look rough, fizzy, gritty, but cannot
actually be felt.
-A recognizable motif regularly repeated produces a pattern. Pattern requires repetition -- in design as in life (a
pattern of behavior). The more regular the repetition, the stronger the pattern. Compare this field of flowers with
a side of a building. Both have a repeating motif.
-Visual balance comes from arranging elements on the page so that no one section is heavier than the other.
-Designs in balance have the parts of the design arranged in a planned, coherent visual pattern. "Balance" is a
concept based on human perception and the complex nature of the human senses of weight and proportion. Humans
can evaluate these visual elements in several situations to find a sense of balance. A design composition does not
have to be symmetrical or linear to be considered balanced. It is also true that perfectly symmetrical and linear
compositions are not necessarily balanced. Asymmetrical or radial distributions of text and graphic elements can
achieve balance in a composition.
-The Principle of Balance
Primarily there are three types of balance in a visual composition:
1) Symmetrical Balance
Symmetrical balance is easiest to see in perfectly centered compositions or those with mirror images. In a design
with only two elements they would be almost identical or have nearly the same visual mass. If one element was
replaced by a smaller one, it could throw the page out of symmetry. To reclaim perfect symmetrical balance you
might need to add or subtract or rearrange the elements so that they evenly divide the page such as a centered
alignment or one that divides the page in even segments (halves, quarters, etc.).
When a design can be centered or evenly divided both vertically and horizontally it has the most complete
2) Asymmetrical Balance
Asymmetry means ―without symmetry.‖ Nothing is mirrored or centered. You could have an odd or mismatched
number of differing elements. Designing with an absence of symmetry, does not mean there is not balance.
However, you can still have an interesting design without perfect symmetry. Since there is no formula for
asymmetrical balance, you must achieve it by sensing whether it looks balanced or not.
With asymmetrical balance you are evenly distributing the elements within the format which may mean balancing a
large photo with several small graphics. Or, you can create tension by intentionally avoiding balance.
3) Radial Balance
On square and rectangular pages we generally place elements in orderly rows and columns. With radial designs the
elements radiate from or swirl around in a circular or spiral path. Parts of the design must still be arranged so that
they are balanced across the width and length of the page unless you're intentionally aiming for a lack of balance.
-Emphasis is the art of making a specific element stand out or draw attention to the eye.
-Emphasis can be achieved in graphic design by placing elements on the page in positions where the eye is naturally
drawn, and by using other principles such as contrast, repetition, or movement.
Emphasis shows that you have a point to your piece. You have something to say, literally or figuratively. You know
what you want to communicate and you have the skills to direct the viewer through the work in a way that provides
visual interest, multiple levels of information, and ultimately leaves the viewer fulfilled. A feeling that they have
spent their time wisely. Emphasis does not make a work appealing to everyone, but without a focal point or emphasis
you may be looking at a big mess that does little to accomplish the ultimate goal of communication.
Proportion = This indicates the relative visual size and weight of particular graphical elements in a design
-Proportion in art is the comparative harmonious relationship between two or more elements in a composition with
respect to size, colour, quantity, degree, setting, etc.; i.e. ratio. A relationship is created when two or more
elements are put together in a composition. This relationship is said to be harmonious when a correct or desirable
relationship exists between the elements. This refers to the correct sizing and distribution of an element or
object, which creates good proportion. Good proportion adds harmony and symmetry, or balance, among the parts
of a design as a whole
-Contrast in composition occurs when two related elements are different. The greater the difference the greater
the contrast. Contrast adds variety to the total design and creates unity. It is what draws the viewer's eye into
the composition and helps to guide the viewer around the art piece. Some ways of creating contrast among
elements in the design include using contrasting colours, sizes, shapes, locations, or relationships. For text,
contrast is achieved by mixing serif fonts with sans-serif fonts on the page, by using very different font styles, or
by using fonts in surprising or unusual ways. Another way to describe contrast is to say "a small object next to a
large object will look smaller". As contrast in size diminishes, monotony is approached.
Rhythm and Movement
-Rhythm refers to the way your eye moves throughout a picture. This is intended to give you the impression of
movement. Rhythm in art is created by the repetition of elements. Similarity of elements, or flowing, circular
elements will give a more connected flowing rhythm to a picture. Jagged or unrelated elements will create a more
unsettling, dynamic picture.
-Unity in a composition is achieved when all of the design principles (balance, emphasis, proportion, contrast and
movement) have been correctly applied and there is harmony between them. Everything selected for use in a
composition must complement the key theme and must also serve some functional purpose within the design.
Achieving unity in your compositions will only result from practicing, knowing and selecting the right visual elements
and using the best principles of design to relate them.
-Unity, sometimes referred to as harmony, is the hallmark of a good design. It's the final result in a composition
when all the design elements work harmoniously together giving the viewer a satisfying sense of belonging; You
know unity has been achieved when all aspects of the design complement one another rather than compete for
attention. It serves to reinforce the relationship between the design elements and relates them to the key theme
Unity creates a sense of order. When a design possesses unity there will be a consistency of sizes and shapes, as
well as a harmony of colour and pattern. One way this is accomplished is by repeating the key elements, balancing
them throughout the composition, and then adding a little variety so that the design has its own sense of
personality. Learning to juggle the elements and principles in such a way as to achieve the right mix is a key to good
Introduction to Typography
-Typography is the design of individual letters and the arrangement of them in print and/or digital media. For both
print and digital media, visual communication professionals must consider fundamental issues of form and structure,
design, message, content, and expression.
-Parts of the Letterform
Over the centuries, a nomenclature has evolved that identifies the various components of individual letterforms. By
learning this vocabulary, designers and typographers can develop a greater understanding and sensitivity to the
visual harmony and complexity of the alphabet.
-Using correct nomenclature is vital to communication, especially technical communication.
-Since letters are the foundation of all typographic communication, letter nomenclature is a logical place to begin
to build your typographic vocabulary. Here are two videos to go through it with you.
A number of efforts have been made to classify typefaces, with most falling into the following major categories.
Serif typefaces, like Times, have the little feet and variable line widths which make them easy to read. Sans serifs
typefaces do not have little feet and are more common on websites. There are also decorative, stylized, or novelty
classifications for the wide range of fanciful type styles that defy categorization and are usually used to catch the
viewer's attention, as in a headline for example, for example.
OLD STYLE =The style of Roman letter that is most directly descended in form from chisel edge drawn
models. The stlye is characterized by angle and bracketed serifs, biased stress, less thick and thin contrast. Some
examples are Caslon, Garamond, Palatino, and Times Roman.
TRANSITIONAL STYLE= A style of Roman letter that exhibits design characteristics of both modern and old-
style faces.For example, Baskerville, Century Schoolbook, and Cheltenham.
MODERN= A style of Roman letter whose form is determined by mechanical drawing tools rather than a chisel-
edged pen. This sytle is characterized by extreme thick and thin contrast, vertical/horizontal stress, and straight
on, bracketed serifs. For example, Bodini, Caledonia, and Tiffany.
EGYPTIAN= Also known as Slab Serif is a style of Roman letter characterized by heavy, slab like serifs. The thin
strokes are usually fairly heavy. It may have modern or old-style design qualities that are sometimes called square
serif or slab serif. For example, Claredon, Egyptian, and ITC Lubalin Graph.
ITALIC = This is a letter form design resembling handwriting with the notes appearing at an angle or slant to the
right. This style was originally used as an independent design alternative to Roman. It is now used as a style variant
for a typeface in a type family that applies to most serif and sans serif typefaces.
SCRIPT= Script is letterform design that most resembles handwriting. Letters usually slant to the right and are
joined. Script type can emulate forms written with chisel edge pen, flexible pen, pencil, or brush. For example,
Brush Script, Shelley Allegro Script, and Snell Roundhand Script.
SANS SERIF= Sans serif letter forms are designed without serifs and usually have no discernible thick and thin
variations. For example, Futura, Helvetica, and Univers.
-A typeface is a style of lettering, such as Helvetica or Times. A font is the set of a typeface, used to produce the
letters. On a computer, it is a file used by the system. People often confuse "font" with "typeface". For example,
Helvetica, point 12 is a different font from Helvetica, point 14, even though both are of the same typeface.
FONT DOESNT EQUAL TYPEFACE
-A set of similar typefaces is called a "family." Within a family, typefaces are categorized as parent (e.g. Times,
Helvetica) or relative (e.g. bold, italic). Typefaces are categorized also according to style (e.g. italic, book), weight
(e.g. bold or light), and width (e.g. expanded).
-Type is measured in points, from top to bottom of the letters in invisible bounding boxes. Since each letter fills up
a percentage of that bounding box, when the size of the box is increased, the letter size increases.
-Text can have a number of different purposes in a design. It can be used for pure graphic appeal, a case in which
readability may be less important than aesthetics. An example of the graphical use of text is in titles, logos and
There are many kinds of decorative typefaces that one would be a poor choice to use to print the main body of an
article.. This is because a purely decorative typeface tends to be distracting to the content of the message and will
tire the reader's eyes when used in large portions. Our eyes are most comfortable reading less distinctive
Decorative typefaces are better suited for display type (greater than 14 points), while simpler type is better used
for text (less than 14 points). To maintain readability in large blocks of text —such as in an article— stay
consistent, and use only one family.
-A designer has to choose a typeface that is not only appropriate to the mood of the design, but that is
appropriate for the text's purpose in the design. Standard graphic design wisdom holds that of the classifications
of serif and sans-serif, serif fonts are easier to read. This is because when reading, the eye quickly scans the tops
of the letterforms and a serif font has more immediately recognizable features thanks to the tiny 'eye-holds'
provided by the serifs.
A visual hierarchy is an arrangement of elements in a graduated series, from the most prominent to
the least prominent, in an area of typographic space. When establishing a visual hierarchy, a designer carefully
considers the relative importance of each element in the message, the nature of the reader, the environment
where the communication will be read, and the need to create a cohesive arrangement of forms within the
The study of visual hierarchy is the study of the relationships of each part to the other parts,
and the whole. When elements have similar characteristics, they have equality in the visual hierarchy, but when
they have contrasting characteristics, their differences enable them to take dominant and subordinate positions in
the composition. Here is the same content demonstrating visual hierarchy.