Basic Graphic Design Questions

kat.hayes

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Oct 10, 2011
1,081
20
I'm new to the graphic design world and I have been reading as much as I can, though I'm confused by conflicting stuff I'm reading. I see a lot of pages describe the elements of graphic design as:

- lines
- shapes
- color
- texture
- value
- space

and then I have seen some pages add form/volume/mass

1.) Does the list above seem accurate? anything missing? should form/volume/mass be included as well to the elements of graphic design?

2.) What then are the following called? Are these just ways to organize the graphic design elements?
- proximity
- alignment
- repetition
- contrast/emphasis/hierarchy
- typography
- rhythm
- pattern
- proportion
- variety

Thanks!
 

UTclassof89

macrumors 6502
Jun 10, 2008
421
0
Design is not a hard science, so the "Elements of Design" (your first list) will vary by author/instructor/designer (and even their definitions may vary based on who you ask).

So will the "Principles of Design" (your second list; and yes, these are methods/strategies for using the Elements of Design).
 

beowulf70

macrumors regular
Oct 20, 2010
238
20
London
I'm new to the graphic design world and I have been reading as much as I can, though I'm confused by conflicting stuff I'm reading. I see a lot of pages describe the elements of graphic design as:

- lines
- shapes
- color
- texture
- value
- space

and then I have seen some pages add form/volume/mass

1.) Does the list above seem accurate? anything missing? should form/volume/mass be included as well to the elements of graphic design?

2.) What then are the following called? Are these just ways to organize the graphic design elements?
- proximity
- alignment
- repetition
- contrast/emphasis/hierarchy
- typography
- rhythm
- pattern
- proportion
- variety

Thanks!
Hi Kat,

Your list of words provided and those that will be quoted to you are by no means exhaustive, but are all relevant to Graphic Design.

My advice to you would be to read as many different books and blogs on Design to gain a broader perspective as possible.

Don't get stressed over a list of words. Design is fluid and you'll continue to learn more every day. I've been a professional Graphic Designer for over 22 years and there's not a day goes by that I don't learn something new. ;)

Be careful not to consider Graphic Design as a strict science or art though.
"Good art is a talent. Good design is a skill".

Just to mention a little about your List 2. From my perspective, those words are mainly about typography. My advice would be to have a look at Swiss Typography and an exponent by the name of Jan Tschichold.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jan_Tschichold

You could learn a lot from him.....
Have fun! ;)
 

citizenzen

macrumors 68000
Mar 22, 2010
1,546
11,628
I see list one as a description of elements available to a designer, and list two as how those elements could be applied.

Personally, I believe that list two encapsulates more the processes involved in creating good design.
 

R1PPER

macrumors 6502
Oct 1, 2008
305
31
Your not going to Magically become a good Graphic Designer from trying to analyse anything...you need to DO IT. What sort of stuff do you want to do.? Look at what everyone else is doing and when your work is better than everything else you are a Good Designer.
 

12dylan34

macrumors 6502a
Sep 3, 2009
877
6
I would agree with what R1PPER said. Reading books about it is helpful, but you really gain your skills by doing it. Make things that look good, and they'll follow most of what the books say anyway.
 

ezekielrage_99

macrumors 68040
Oct 12, 2005
3,336
16
Your not going to Magically become a good Graphic Designer from trying to analyse anything...you need to DO IT. What sort of stuff do you want to do.? Look at what everyone else is doing and when your work is better than everything else you are a Good Designer.
Good point BTW.

It's as much of an art as it is a science, the background information gives you the process but I do agree the doing part makes the designer.
 

beowulf70

macrumors regular
Oct 20, 2010
238
20
London
Design is not a hard science, so the "Elements of Design" (your first list) will vary by author/instructor/designer (and even their definitions may vary based on who you ask).

So will the "Principles of Design" (your second list; and yes, these are methods/strategies for using the Elements of Design).
I forgot to ask... can you please elaborate on your seemingly dismissive, broad comment that "Design is not a hard science"?

I'm very interested to hear your thoughts... Thanks.
 

UTclassof89

macrumors 6502
Jun 10, 2008
421
0
I forgot to ask... can you please elaborate on your seemingly dismissive, broad comment that "Design is not a hard science"?

I'm very interested to hear your thoughts... Thanks.
A "hard science" is Math, Physics, Chemistry, where there is only one correct answer to a problem (4+3 always equals 7).

In Design there are many solutions to a problem, and none of them are "wrong" (they just vary in degrees of success).

By 'hard' I don't mean 'difficult'.