Part I
: Elements of Design

• The purpose of design
• Form and Balance
• Creating Contrast
TRY IT: 10 minute Tangrams
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1. Attract an audience, then
2. Provide a strong visual hierarchy for messages

The primary task of graphic design is to create a consistent hierarchy, where important elements are emphasized and content is organized logically.

  • Graphic design is visual information management. Using the tools of layout, typography, and illustration, design leads the reader's eye through the page.

  • Readers see pages first as large masses of shape and color with foreground elements contrasted against a background.

  • Next, we seek information, first from graphics. Finally, we parse the "harder" medium of text, to read individual words and phrases.


The overall graphic balance and organization of the page is crucial to drawing the reader into your content.

  • A dull page of solid text will repel the eye as a mass of undifferentiated gray.

  • A page dominated by poorly designed or overly bold graphics or type will also repel sophisticated users looking for content.

  • What you want is an appropriate balance that attracts the eye with visual contrast. ("Creating Contrast")

Successful design is appropriate to the goals of the piece. To serve the goals well, you must:


next: Form and Balance