The Fundamentals Of Design Are Not Arbitrary, But Theory
We truly love Matt Greenwood’s animation covering the basic techniques of design. It covers 24 design principles that hold true for all channels of visual design, yet in the end Matt contradicts himself as he states, “Design is not a science, just move things around until they feel right”. We are here to tell you that while design might not be a field of science, the principals of design are rooted in many years of theory and testing.
Two Theories Behind Design Principals
Now that you have seen Matt’s beautiful animation, lets discuss two theories that support some of the design principals noted in the animation.
Gestalt Theory – Gestalt translates into “Unified whole”. Conceived in the 1920’s, the theory refers to the visual perception of a design by the viewer and how the viewer will form a precept that the whole has a reality of its own that is independent of the parts that create it. In short it states that designs should be organized into groups that represent a hierarchy and the theory is usually accompanied by the phrase, “The whole is other than the sum of its parts”. This is not to be confused with the phrase, “The whole is larger than the sum of its parts”. This is because the whole design is not an addition to the parts, it is instead, independent of the parts. The Gestalt Effect is the ability of our brains to view the design as a whole versus the small elements that create the whole. The Gestalt theory applies to the design principles of proximity, similarity, closure, symmetry and continuity.
Color – Color theory has long been studied and debated by legendary artists and scientists such as Leonardo Da Vinci and Sir Isaac Newton. In the past, color was created from three primary pigments, red, yellow and blue (RYB). Today our primary colors are red, green and blue (RGB) and cyan, magenta, yellow and black (CMYK). RGB is used to represent the color of light and CYMK is used to represent print or paint pigments.The key utilities of the color wheel are primary, secondary and tertiary colors.
Primary – Red, green and blue. These are the three primary colors that can be mixed to create all other colors.
Secondary – Green, orange and purple. These are the colors created by mixing primary colors.
Tertiary – Are hues created by mixing both Primary and secondary colors. Their result is blue-green, red-orange, ETC.
There are also formulas for color balance. These formulas are great for choosing two or more different colors to create a color scheme. Color schemes consist of complimentary, analogous and triad colors to name a few.
Complementary – Complementary colors lie directly across form each other on the color wheel.
Analogous – Analogous colors sit directly next to each other on the color wheel.
Triad – Triad colors run in thirds across from each other on the color wheel making a pie type connection.
The color wheel works for you. Thankfully Adobe has created Color CC. A color wheel that allows you to enter your primary color, then it outputs various options for you to choose depending on your desired color balance. Check it out for free here
These are only two, of many theories that build design principles for graphic designers, allowing us to create clean, eye catching design that evokes a response within the viewer. While we tip our hat to Matt’s beautiful animation, his ending message leaves us the desire to clarify for those that think design is simply moving things around until it feels right.