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Monday, May 23, 2011

Introduction to Graphic Design

Introduction to Graphic Design
We all are familiar with the adage, 'A picture is worth a thousand words'; which simply means a complex idea can be conveyed much easily and effectively using an image instead of writing long sentences to express the same idea. The term 'Graphic Design' or 'Visual Communication' or 'Communication Design' also relate to the idea that graphical representation can easily communicate with the viewers compared to the plain text representation.

What is Graphic Design?

Fig 1: A sample graphic design by myself done in 2005.
Graphic design can be defined as the way one can imagine and picturize an idea. The graphic designer may use typography, visual arts and composition techniques to achieve the desired output. Graphic design can be the process as well as the output. In simple terms, graphic design is the composition or organization of various design elements based on certain principles. Graphic design, as a process, also involves developing new and innovative ways to represent an idea or a piece of information. In the modern scenario, particularly in web and new media design, the designer is left with a lot of new elements in addition to traditional elements like text and images. The new set of elements include flash movies, videos, audio and many more interactive items.


Composition is the combining of distinct parts or elements to form a whole. It can also be the manner in which such parts are combined or related. In a graphic designer's point of view it can be explained as the harmonious arrangement of elements of design in relation to each other and to the whole. The quality of graphic design heavily relies on the composition.

Principles of Design

We already saw that the composition is the placement or the arrangement of visual elements in a defined area of canvas. Designers often follow a set of rules or principles to serve the purpose and to achieve the visual goals. Sometimes breaking these rules may be essential to serve the purpose. In any case, these principles are based on the connection between the elements and the organization of elements as a whole. The main purpose of following these principles is to achieve harmony between the elements.

The principles of design include Balance, Harmony, Contrast, Variety, Emphasis, Repetition, Perspective, Lighting, Proportion, Color Theory, Rhythm, Unity, Movement and Geometrical Rules. We will be discussing these principles in detail in future posts.

Elements of Design

Elements can be defined as components or basic units which can be isolated in any visual design. The elements of design include Color, Point, Line, Form, Shape, Space, Size, Direction, Pattern and Texture. We will be discussing these elements in detail in coming posts.

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