Design is not Everything….
But…Everything is Designed….
Design is more than a pattern. It is more than an ornament and decoration. It is a structure itself and there is a plan behind the structure.
We design actually when we plan anything. We arrange and order it. We design when we set a table for dinner. We design when we arrange our drawing rooms.
The objective of the printed message is the transfer of meaning from one mind to another. To this end designer selects the elements verbal and graphic and arrange them in a structure. Visual form is a language. As a language it has a vocabulary which consists of these elements; Point line, shape, tone and texture. We should not forget one point that the visual cannot make conditional or logical statements.
This is a structural element which can be imaginary or real. Both ways it refers to a position in space and holds a strong attraction for the eye. The optical center is an example of the imaginary point.
Line can be straight or curve, heavy or light, smooth or rough, continuous or broken, actual or imaginary, line conveys it’s word like if horizontal calm, if vertical dignity, if diagonal vitality. Line also suggests meaning. Straight line suggests strength and direction. Curve line suggests movement, growth.
Line makes shape. Shapes may also be defined as tone, texture and size. Group of words can form shapes. You can sense the weight, tone and texture of a shape. There are three basic shapes; square, circle and triangle. There are, of course, endless variations of these shapes. Shapes also suggests meaning, of course, psychologically. We call certain dull people “square”. We speak of love “triangle” in which tension exits, the circle suggests peace, protection, safety.
The word tone refers relative lightness or darkness. Our visual system are set up to sense the color and that what we see in nature. But everywhere there are tones. For example, one can change color TV pictures into black and white. What we see then is only the tonal difference, what makes the image.
Any surface structure can be sensed visually as having texture. Thus we visually feel. It is as natural to want to touch as it is to want to look.
Style in Design
There are standards of style in design as well as in writing. If we say of a writer, he has no “style”. We mean we don’t like how he says it. You can examine a design in style by judging the following points, contrast, balance, proportion, rhythm, harmony, movement and unity.
Any form of communication some materials or ideas must be stressed more than others. Contrast can be achieved by size, shape, tone, texture and direction. Sudden change in direction give emphasis and will create contrast.
Balance is fundamental law in nature. Balance is a matter of weight distribution. Balance exist when the elements are placed with the sense of equipoise or counter balance. That is the weight of the elements counteract so that they seem settled where they placed. The weight of an element is the result of size, shape and tone. Large elements look heavier than smaller elements. In case of tone if the smaller element is heavy it looks heavier than the large elements. Irregular shapes bear greater weight than regular. There are two kind of balance; symmetrical and asymmetrical.
When you put two or more elements together you get proportion. Whether you want it or not. This is larger than that, that is darker than this; that texture is smoother than this; and so on. Proportion helps develop order and creates a pleasing impression. It is related to balance but it is concerned primarily with the division of the space.
Rhythm is achieved through the orderly repetition of any element; line, shape, tone, texture. The eyes will spot the rhythm and follow it’s pattern. Rhythm is the vital force in movement.
Harmony exists in the manual characteristics of the elements: tone, shape, size and texture. A book page printed in one face with variation in sizes is a good example. Complete harmony is passive and also monotonous. Contrast on the other had is active. It gives dynamic movement and brakes harmony.
While reading our eye always moves. The eye moves naturally from big elements to little elements. From black to lighter elements. From color to non-color, from unusual shape to usual shape. Bearing this in mind the designer can start the eye travel in the design anywhere.
1. The eye moves to the left and upward after initial fixation.
2. From this point to in a clockwise direction.
3. The eye prefers horizontal movements.
The individual elements of the design must relate to each other to the total design. Without this unity no design can register overall impression.