Understanding the Elements and Principals of Visual Design

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Understanding the Elements and Principals of Visual Design

Visual design is a design technique that is aimed at shaping and improving the user experience of a site through photography, typography, illustrations, color, layouts, and space. It mainly focuses on the aesthetics by strategically implementing font, imaging, and color among several other elements. An effective and successful visual design is one that does not dilute the content of a site or reduce the site’s performance. A successful and effective visual design is one that enhances the site and boosts its brand. Guttulus in this post shares the elements and the main principles to be followed when creating visual designs.

Basic visual design elements 

•    Shapes

These are self-contained areas that are created by use of lines, color, differences in value and texture. An objection is usually composed of shapes.

•    Lines

Lines connect two points and are used to define shapes, divide space and to create desired textures in spaces. A line is characterized by direction, length, and width.

•    Texture

Texture refers to the feel of a surface. The texture of a surface is created by repeating an element over a space. Texture usually serves the purpose of either deterring or attracting attention.

•    Color

The color combinations of a space are used to create depth, differentiate items on a page, to create more emphasis and/or to organize information in the desired order. Color choices are very critical as various colors have various psychological impacts on site users.

•    Form

Form is used to describe the volume and mass of three-dimensional objects. It can be created by combining several shapes and can be enhanced further by different colors, tone, and textures.

•    Typography

Typography basically refers to the fonts used, their color, size, spacing, and alignment.

All the visual design elements work together to create a site that is visually appealing and with a give a great user experience.

Visual Design Principals 

1.    Emergence

This means that one has to make sense of the whole design first before the parts needed to achieve the desired results are identified. It is important to stick to patterns that are familiar, and easy to recognize regardless of how far you want to explore designs. Sticking with patterns that people are familiar with greatly helps makes the site easy to use and, consequently create an amazing user experience. It is, however, important to include creativity to avoid being generic and boring.

2.    Reification

The mind works in such a way that one does not have to see the entirety of something to know what it is exactly. In visual design, this means that you don’t have to include an entire object for the users to identify what it is. This principle is very useful when saving space and enticing the users to progress to the next page or to come back again.

3.    Invariance

Humans are good at recognizing differences and similarities in objects. It is, therefore, quite easy to make an object stand out when in a crowd of similar objects. This principle can be applied in design by introducing one element that is different in a homogenous group. This principle is mainly applied in pricing pages of products by making certain columns stand out from the rest by altering a few elements in it like its size or color.

4.    Balance, Rhythm, and Contrast

Balance, rhythm, and contrast are applied to make plain elements more interesting and visually appealing to the users. All the elements in the designs should be balanced putting into consideration their visual weight. You can balance elements by shifting their position or reducing or increasing their depth. The difference in the depth of elements is what is referred to as contrast. It involves making certain elements heavier than the others. Rhythm is meant to help guide the eyes of the user through the site without straining. Balance, rhythm, and contrast have to be in harmony for a perfect visual design.

5.    Grid and Alignments

Following a particular grid will help make your design easy to digest and more pleasant. Alignment is important in the text. There are several ways the texts in a site can be aligned depending on what the goals and the use of the site are. Generally, people read from the top going down and from the left going right. As such, left alignment is normally the most preferred patterns as any other pattern can be a bit hard to read.

6.    Framing

Framing, also, applies in visual design. Framing is used to direct the eyes to what matters by making an object stand out. Framing comes in handy when you want to reinforce a message.

7.    Visual concept

Visual concept basically refers to what the idea behind your visual design is. There should be meaning to your design. There should be one idea that connects all the elements in your design together. This means that every little detail in the design should matter.

Understanding these elements and principals in visual design will help in the creation of a visually appealing site with great user experience.

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