We’ve all heard of visual design elements like shape, line, and colour, and we’ve all had contrast, emphasis, rhythm, and other principles drilled into our minds. A few of the more subtle, less well-known principles that still apply today.
1. The Law of Gravity
Even in visual communication, gravity applies to things and shapes.
It may seem unusual, but gravity isn’t a genuine force that pulls 2-d objects downwards in real life.
Gravity, on the other hand, is so deeply ingrained in our view of reality that it even applies to two-dimensional things on a page.
When you’re designing, keep in mind that visually weighty objects at the top can make people feel uncomfortable and worried (unless that’s the sensation you’re intending to communicate).
2. Directions for Reading
We read left to right, top to bottom in western civilization (and vice versa).
Ones on the left are thought to be entering, whereas objects on the right are believed to be departing.
On the left, there’s a circle. Because we read from left to right, the circle appears to be entering the composition once more. The circle appears to be disappearing below. You can also use this to express certain feelings. For example, do you want to make an object appear to be peering in? You can make a composition similar to the one shown below.
3. Prioritize reading
Because we read from top to bottom from left to right, we naturally perceive objects on the top left first, then move our gaze to the bottom right and see things there.
This is important because, if you’re trying to build a visual hierarchy (for example, you might want your viewers to see the title first, then the content), where you put things, even if they’re the same shape/color/size, matters.
If you grew up reading English novels from top to bottom, you most likely looked at the top left circle first, before moving on to the bottom right.
4. Tension in the Visual Field
Physical stress was once characterised to me as being translated and increased. It’s the sensation you get when you see a glass of liquid sitting on the table’s edge.
Visual tension is frequently the result of designers not noticing that they have unintentionally placed shapes adjacent to each other, creating tension.
This could appear sloppy. Visual tension can be used to grab a user’s attention and create emphasis if done correctly.
Perhaps you’re creating a protest poster or simply want to draw someone’s attention to something.In those circumstances, make sure your tension is deliberate and doesn’t come out as a miscalculation.
5. Static vs. Dynamic
Static compositions can be tedious at times. Simply tilting the horizon will spice things up and make it feel more thrilling. Here’s an example of a static image that’s starting to seem old.
You can engage the borders and allow shapes bleed outside of them to make the composition even more dynamic and intriguing.
6. Making Negative Space Active
To a point, you may utilise directional forms to activate negative space.
If the directional force is too small, the negative space stays inactive.
Here’s a form that catches your sight and then moves it upwards and to the right.
The problem is that by the time you get to the upper right corner of the page, your attention is most certainly dead.
Your eye passes beyond the object, but there is just too much space and insufficient directional force from the item for your eye to drop off.
The area is still dormant.
All of a sudden, the space surrounding the shape appears to be purposeful and alive. Do you want to order something to go? Be aware of inactive negative space if you’re trying to move someone’s gaze around.
A simple approach is to simply point your finger at the object, move in the direction your eye usually wanders, and watch where your focus naturally goes off. If that happens much sooner than you wish, you’ll need to change your layout — either the shape or the borders — to keep the negative space active.
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