Wikigraphists Bootcamp (2018 India)/Program/Online Session 1/Resource Material
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Basics of visual communication
The building blocks of visual communication are the elements and principles of design. These concepts must not be taken as rules. They are guidelines for the purpose of learning to create a visual composition. The list of elements and principles is also not rigid and has several variations.
Elements of design
- Line - A line is any two connected points. It can be curved, vertical, horizontal, or diagonal. It can have varying width or texture, and be continuous, implied or broken.
- Space - Space can be understood to be negative and positive. Negative space is the portion of a composition that is left blank.
- Shape - Shapes can be geometric or organic. These are defined by boundaries, such as a line or colour. Everything in a composition can be seen as shapes.
- Form - Form can be seen to be similar as shape. But, it has three dimensions (height, width, and depth) instead of two.
- Colour - Colour is usually used to depict the mood in the composition. It can be used to highlight elements.
- Texture - It is the way a surface feels or is perceived to feel. It is used to create an appearance of depth.
- (Note: Point and direction are also considered to be elements of design)
Principles of design
- Harmony - Arranging the elements with the goal of unity. Harmony is the sense that all of the parts are working together to achieve a common result.
- Balance - Balance is the concept of visual equilibrium. The opposing forces in a composition are reconciled to result in visual stability. Balance can be both symmetrical and asymmetrical.
- Hierarchy - The composition clearly communicates the order of significance of each element. It guides the viewer to look at the most significant element first and then moves to the lesser significant ones.
- Scale - Increasing or decreasing the relative size of elements creates a clear focal point in the composition. It may also be used to communicate the relationship between the elements.
- Emphasis - It is a part of a composition that catches the viewer’s attention. It is usually achieved by contrasting one part with the others using colours, shapes, sizes, etc.
- Contrast - It is the use of opposing forces in a composition to break the similarity or consistency. Contrast reduces monotony in a composition.
- (Note: Some other principles of design are pattern, repetition, movement, rhythm, depth, and variety)
Gestalts laws of grouping
The whole is more than the sum of its parts. The laws of groupings are based on the principles of integration and segregation that connect and separate elements through proximity, similarity, and closure.
- Proximity - The visual system tends to group together those elements that are close to one another, and segregate them from the more distant ones.
- Similarity - The visual system tends to group together those elements that are equal or similar, and segregate the different ones from one another. This can happen at several levels of similarity based on different visual dimensions (such as colour, size, orientation, etc.).
- Closure - The visual system tends to group together a series of elements that are placed in such a way so as to generate a simple outline.
- (Source: Jorge Frascara - Communication Design: Principles, Methods and Practice, 2004)
- Grid - A grid is a base structure created using intersecting vertical, horizontal and angular guidelines. This structure can be used to align and arrange elements.
- Typography - It is the style and appearance of text usually for the purpose of legibility, readability, and visual appeal.
Creating a composition
- Set a purpose for the composition
- Use elements to achieve the purpose
- Ensure the principles have been followed
Realism, stylisation, and abstraction
- Realistic - It is the accurate and detailed representation of the visual appearance of an object or scene.
- Stylised - A non-realistic visual representation is stylised.
- Abstract - In abstraction, the object is often taken from reality and then distorted. It could be enlarged, cropped, or simplified.
Understanding rasters and vectors
Rasters and vectors are the two basic types of digital graphics. Raster graphics are composed of pixels, while vector graphics are composed of paths or lines.
- Formats: Rasters - jpeg, png, bmp, etc.; Vectors - ai, cdr, eps, etc.
- Softwares: Rasters - Photographs, Adobe Photoshop, etc.; Vectors - Inkscape, Adobe Illustrator, Corel Draw, etc.
- Scaling: Because vector graphics are not made of pixels, the images can be scaled to be very large without losing quality. Raster graphics, on the other hand, become blurry or pixelated since each pixel increases in size as the image is made larger. Logos are hence mostly created in vector format, where the scale in use is uncertain.
- Conversion: Vector images can be easily transformed into raster ones but it is more complicated and time-consuming to work the other way around.
- File Size: Raster graphics are usually heavier than vector ones.
- Thinking with Type - by Ellen Lupton http://thinkingwithtype.com/
- Communication Design: Principles, Methods and Practice - by Jorge Frascara
- Universal Principles of Design - by Lidwell, Holden, and Butler
- Grid Systems in Graphic Design - by Josef Müller-Brockmann
- Visual Communication Design: An Introduction to Design Concepts in Everyday Experience - by Meredith Davis and Jamer Hunt
Prepared by User:Saumyaanaidu