Understanding Visual Terminology - CRAFT Media | Digital

Understanding Visual Terminology


American designer Charles Eames defined design as “A plan for arranging elements in such a way as best to accomplish a particular purpose.”

The basic components of visual compositions are broken down into “elements” and “principles.” These have a range of applications, from classical paintings and photography to more contemporary utilizations of advertising and UI/UX design. One must consider the arrangement of elements and application of design principles to determine the success of a piece objectively, rather than subjectively. The elements of design are the key parts whereas the principles are the manner in which they are implemented.

The elements of design:                                 

Key design principles are:

1. Line

1. Balance

2. Shape

2. Rhythm/Repetition

3. Texture

3. Movement

4. Color

4. Contrast/Dominance

5. Value

5. Harmony/Unity

6. Space

6. Proportion/Scale

7. Form

Ultimately, the fundamental goal of visual communication is to convey a message to a particular audience. When judging a design’s effectiveness, we must consider three things:

  1. Accessible information: Is the text legible? Can someone with poor eyesight read the data?
  2. Visual hierarchy: Control how the eye travels. Is the most important information being observed first and quickly?
  3. Aesthetic stamina: Trendy appears dated quickly and will commonly be overlooked by audiences. To quote the late graphic designer Massimo Vignelli, “If you do it right, it will last forever.”

Too often, agencies rush to get creative out the door that is visually engaging, but fail in communicating the basic message to the audience.

…not at CRAFT. Our design team is keenly aware of the necessity and effectiveness of using these elements and principles, giving proper consideration to how the viewer will absorb the content.

Take this eblast for example:

Danielle crafting creative

At first glance, it’s simple. It’s clean. It’s light on copy. But take a closer look, and see if you can discern how the elements and principles were applied to create an aesthetic and successful solution.

And now, consider yourself well-versed in the dialogue of design. It’s one thing to observe. It’s quite another to understand.

Design: It’s more than meets the eye.