Think graphic design is easy?

Looking at a graphic design composition might look simple at first glance. But when you sit down to create a design you’ll find it takes a certain level of expertise and professionalism.

Graphic designers and web design experts use particular elements to make a composition professional and attractive.

Read on to discover the elements you need to know to create a composition that achieves its goals.

7 Graphic Design Elements You Need to Know to Get the Job Done

1. Color

Some of the most important graphic design elements used in visual compositions include color. And color comes with a history.

Sir Isaac Newton created the first color wheel in 1706. And it’s still used today. Newton discovered that when light passes through a prism of colors (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet, it created a spectrum.

After his discovery, the scientist developed a color wheel that he turned into a visual categorization system.

Today, a wide variety of professionals rely on the color wheel, from scientists to artists to cosmetologists and graphic designers.

The contemporary color wheel contains three primary colors: red, yellow and blue. Primary colors compose all colors, hues, and shades.

Combining Colors

Graphic designers mix colors by combining ratios to make secondary colors (like green from adding blue to yellow) and tertiary colors, and so on and so on.

Designers use the color wheel, as an essential tool to create a variety of artistic representations and promotions.

To create a blended look with like colors, choose colors that appear close together on the color wheel.

For a bolder effect, select contrasting colors located opposite each other on the color wheel such as red and green or yellow-green and red-violet. Contrasting colors will make your color pop.

2. Line

While lines do divide elements on a page, they do much more. Lines also evoke mood, emotion and give energy to a composition.

Lines act as graphic design elements that tie together a composition. They also provide a framework for a graphical composition. Lines provide structure to a design, similar to a blueprint. In a sense, they act as guides.

Professionals work with guides for the purpose of enhancing stability in a design. Lines create energy such as the design of swirls or zigzag lines.

Other ways to use lines include layered designs, composed of several layers, and lines to select fonts when choosing typography.

3. Shape

Shapes act as graphic design elements that define boundaries and borders. Shape comes in two categories: geometric shapes and organic shapes.

Geometric shape examples include circles, squares or triangles. Designers employ geometric shapes to create uniform proportions.

Graphic designers use circles in logo creation to make unified compositions. You’ve seen them used in popular logos such as the Starbucks, BMW, and other logos.

On the other hand, organic shapes make undefined objects unbound by rules of uniformity. Organic shapes can be wiggly and uneven such as the shape of a hexagon that contains uneven sides.

Two kinds of shapes consist of positive shapes and negative shapes. A negative shape is an area around positive shapes. These can sometimes look like optical illusions.

4. Contrast

Contrast concerns graphic design elements juxtaposed together, often side by side, for example, dark and light, or large and small. Contrast in design creates clarity and removes boredom. It adds energy and makes the composition easier to comprehend.

It also draws attention to particular elements in a visual presentation. Without contrast, fonts and images can blur into nothingness and a sea of sameness. Contrast defines objects and elements so the viewer can see and appreciate them.

In typography, using a white typeface on a white or even light background will be lost and difficult to see. Yet, black type on a white background makes the elements legible and stand out.

As you can see in the Carrefour catalog, the contrast of images and numerical elements on the page make the design pop, making the composition pleasing to the eyes and easy to read.

5. Scale

Scale enables the graphic designer to set a focal point.

By experimenting with various sizes in your composition, the artist creates a focal point or featured element. It tells the eyes of the viewer where to look.

Many people mistake size for scale, but the two differ. Size translates to a specific numerical measurement such as a 4″ x 6″ postcard.

On the other hand, scale refers to the relationship between the elements in a composition such as a triangle being triple the size as a circle.

Scale creates a visual hierarchy in your composition. A designer scales elements in a design in a particular order to attract the eyes to certain elements such as a callout circle for a featured product.

Using a high contrast scale presents a good way to draw even more attention to visual elements on a page. This technique enables the artist to use both high contrast and scale to pull the viewer into the promotion or page.

6. Space

Space defines the empty area between elements in your design composition.

Adding space is a necessity in design. If you’ve ever heard a designer say, “This ad needs more white space,” that means the number of elements crowd the design.

This can occur in a composition when a client wants to add superfluous elements or text to fit everything in. But the effect is futile and takes away from the visual composition.

The end result, the elements fight for competition and the design confuses the viewer. When this happens, the message becomes lost.

Additionally, space determines the grouping of elements. A balance achieved between elements makes the design look uniform.

7. Alignment

Alignment in a design acts like an imaginary axis that connects design elements connected through the edges of the elements or through the elements’ center.

You may have heard of the terms center alignment, vertical alignment or horizontal alignment.

Alignment balances a visual presentation–an essential feature when combining textual and visual elements together into a design.

Your visual composition can contain more than one alignment pattern. It may include several alignment patterns to create a sophisticated layering effect.

The Takeaway on Graphic Design Elements

By incorporating alignment, contrast, color, line, shape, space and scale, you can design an attractive visual presentation that conveys your message.The Florida Independent provides high-quality content on a variety of topics from education, health, wellness, technology, travel and more. Visit our website for more great content.

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6 Reasons Why Your Website Sucks (and What You Can Do About It)

Have you ever browsed the website of a big company like Dell or Samsung? Were you impressed with how easily you found what you were looking for, despite the all the complexity of their product lines? I guess you probably were. These websites are built to the highest of professional standards. And as a result, the user experience is seamless.

But all too often, startups fail to emulate the seamlessness generated by the big companies. What seems like it should be straightforward and easy turns out to be a lot more complicated than they imagined. Here are some of the reasons why your website sucks and what you can do about it.

1. Boring headlines

In a world that’s full of low brow content and click-bait, it can be hard for your business to compete. People will click on titles that they find the most titillating, rather than the most informative. Titles which aren’t attractive aren’t going to attract much attention on the internet. They might interest specialists, but not the general public.

Making the titles on your website sexier is an easy first step to making your site more attractive. The next step is to include interesting images and perhaps infographics to reel in even more people. Often it’s just about keeping up with what others in your industry are doing, just to enable you to compete.

2. No blog

If you’ve spent any time browsing the sites of smaller companies, you’ll have noticed a trend over the last few years. They all have blogs. No longer is blogging reserved for foodies and disgruntled youth. It’s a tool that practically everybody is using to drive traffic to their websites. But why?

It all comes down to content. First off, search engines love new content. In fact, they take it into consideration every time they calculate your site’s ranking.

But also, the people looking for your product will probably want to read more about it. That’s why you’ll often find blogs on the sites of companies that sell complex products.

Legal firms, for example, make a point of running blogs that explain how their processes work in layman’s terms. It’s all designed to be helpful, accessible content for potential customers.

3. No website marketing plan

Your website is like the display window at the front of a department store. It’s the public facing part of your business. And it’s got to look good. But all too often, startup websites aren’t fronts for their brands. They’re generic templates that look as if they’ve been thrown together in five minutes.

Building brand identity through your website is an essential part of building a successful business. Because it’s your website that the public and other businesses see, this is what defines you. That’s why it’s so important that it’s good.

Take a couple of hours thinking about exactly what information you want to communicate through your website. What should it be saying about your business? And are there any graphics or logos that you should include to make it consistent?

4. Being too modest

The internet is full of people unashamedly screaming out for attention. Sometimes what they have to offer is good. But most of the time, the content itself is far from ideal.

The problem for the startup, however, is being heard above the noise. This is challenging enough in itself. But often startups will be further hamstrung because they are too modest to seek publicity.

The key to generating interest in your website is to tell your story. It doesn’t have to be War and Peace, of course. It just has to be the story about why your company is unique.

Customers are most interested in your story than you realise. Stories are what draws them into your firm’s brand. It’s what gives customers an affinity with you do. And it’s what gives them something to believe in.

If your startup is an ethical company, you can build this ethical aspect into your brand by telling a story. Perhaps you wanted to set up a chain of healthy, fast-food restaurants because you objected to what the big corporates were doing. This is the type of story that people can really get on board with. And it’s the sort of thing that will align them with your brand.

5. Failing to list on established sites

Even if you do everything right, your website may still get lost in among the billions of pages on the internet. That’s why it’s worth using more established sites to get a leg up.

The first thing that you can do is make comments on other sites. The goal here isn’t necessarily to build links. It’s to create engaging, helpful and meaningful content that will build reputation. As your name floats around the internet, this will divert more traffic to your website and help improve its visibility.

The second thing that you can do is write articles and try to get them published on other websites. This will mean that more people will come into contact with your message. And more potential customers are likely to want to know more about you by going to your website. Guest blogging is an excellent way to get your site known to another site’s audience.

The third thing that you can do is connecting your site through popular social media channels. Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter are all being used right now by businesses to promote their websites and their content.

6. Failing to use pay-per-click advertising

In the early days, very few people will visit your site, if any. The majority of your business will be done through word of mouth and recommendations. But there are limits to that kind of growth in a digital economy. And that’s why pay-per-click advertising is so important.

Essentially, PPC funnels interested customers to your website, dramatically increasing traffic. PPC is moderately expensive for a startup. But it’s something that can be tapered down once you build your reputation and traffic increases naturally. Often PPC advertising pays for itself. Most small businesses will use something like Google Adwords.

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