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Fundamentals

Fundamentals of Composition Part 2

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Fundamentals of Composition Part 2

And we are back on tracks for the part 2 of our Fundamentals of composition!

In our first part (article here), we've been through: 

1 - Unity & Harmony: Proximity, Similarity, Continuation, Repetition

2 - Balance: Symmetry, Asymmetry

3 - Hierarchy & Path: Visual and Intellectual journey

4 - Scales & Proportions (+ Golden Rule)

 

And this week we'll define the following: 

5 - Dominance & Emphasis

6 - Order + Unity + Movement + Harmony = The rhythm

7 - Unity & Variety: Contrast

8 - Background & Shape: In & Out / Full & Empty

 

So let's get started!

 

5. Dominance and Emphasis

Highlight: Breaking the visual hierarchy using form to emphasise

Colour: To distinguish between elements in a series of similar forms

Size: Elements of different sizes focus viewer attention accordingly

 

6. Order + Unity + Movement + Harmony = The rhythm

We can perceive the rhythm simultaneously in three different senses. First hear it, second see it and thirdly feel it in our muscles”,
Paul Klee.

Rhythm plays a living link between all parts of the composition. It is at once a principle of order, diversity and unity or harmony.

The rhythm is inevitable: It makes it possible to subdivide time and space.

It works on time or landmarks perceived consciously or not according as they will be more or less emphasised. The rhythm facilitates the reading: it organises the meeting with the composition. It defines and qualifies a temporality.

The rhythmic effect can be ensured by the distribution of light and dark spots as well as by colour, formal elements, or effects of matter. 

rythme3.jpg
 

The rhythm is all the more attractive as it offers possible developments and gives a sense of infinity to the composition.

 

The cold is therefore a major principle.

A grid can be considered as a rhythmic frame: a frame that is chosen to mark with more or less insistence according to the final perception sought.    

 

7. Unity and Variety: Contrast

Contrast is a principle of deviation which can go as far as contraries; it can both unite and separate. When the deviations are fully balanced and mastered, you can speak of unity and coherence as a contrasting couple. Two opposing plastic elements can offer unity by their complementarity. This is the case of couples such as black and white, red and green, the circle and the square ...

 

Contrasts make it possible to emphasise the identity of each actor, to reveal, to order, to amplify the visual impact, to hold the attention, to make the composition expressive.

 

The concept of contrast applies as much to the shape (geometry, scale), directions (horizontal, vertical, oblique), colours (hot and cold, light and dark etc.), textures (rough or smooth, matte or glossy, etc.).

8. Background and Shape: In and Out / Full and Empty

The white background often acts as an empty space from which the image emerges - this empty space being "presented for perception but not for composition" (Norman Bryson).

The background can be perceived as a concrete surface of silence, an indeterminate in which form can appear. It offers the possibility of the presence of things. Form is definitely defined only by its opposition to the bottom. This opposition between form and background is at the basis of the "Gestalt Theory”.

The greater the contrast between the background and the form, the more distinctive and mutually reinforcing these elements are. In a composition, the "empty" or almost "empty" parts are as important as the solid parts where patterns abound. The white background often provides the vital space around the form; an area of rest, meditation as in a musical page, the abstract space of all possible.

Background-Shape2.jpg

Thank you for reading!

We hope this will help you for your next piece of communication! If you have further questions, please comment and we’ll do our best to come back with an answer that helps you! If you found this article interesting, please share it with your friends and people you know that might be interested to learn more about the subject!

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Fundamentals of (almost any) Composition - PART 1

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Fundamentals of (almost any) Composition - PART 1

 

It’s not always easy to understand how graphic design works. You might spot a nice poster or a brochure and instantly be thinking “whoa yes, that’s it, that works”, whether consciously or unconsciously. However, when it comes to designing something or combining several elements of information together (also known as creating a composition) for yourself, it can be a struggle. This tends to be due to the fact that what may have worked elsewhere, doesn’t appear to be working for you and your brand. This often leads to frustration because you are not sure exactly what it is that isn’t working. 

We want to help you with this by providing you with the key points and rules to be considered when creating a composition - whether it’s a flyer, poster, catalogue, brochure, newsletter, website page, or something different. Moreover, we’ll explain what these points actually mean and why they are important.

But first: What is composition? 

"Composition is the art of discovering and representing unity in variety" - Plato ( An idea that Paul Klee developed with his students at the Bauhaus)

Composition in graphic design is the selection and the organisation of the diverse elements of the subject; it’s the “art” of linking in a relevant way, the chosen elements of the project.

For a composition to work, it has to be relevant, coherent and easy to read. To do so, there are several design rules that should be applied when creating this relevant and coherent content:

Part 1
1 - Unity + Harmony: Proximity, Similarity, Continuation, Repetition
2 - Balance: Symmetry, Asymmetry
3 - Hierarchy + Path: Visual and Intellectual journey
4 - Scales + Proportions (+ Golden Rule)

Part 2
5 - Dominance + Emphasis
6 - Order + Unity + Movement + Harmony = The rhythm
7 - Unity + Variety: Contrast
8 - Background + Shape: In + Out / Full + Empty

 

1. Unity and Harmony: Proximity, Similarity, Continuation, Repetition

When it comes to composition, the term “harmony” refers to achieving a visual balance in the field of application. 

"Harmony is the relationship that accords the different parts of a complex whole in such a way that this meeting forms a coherent, happy, satisfying whole for the mind and the senses", Etienne Souriceau, professor of aesthetics at the Sorbonne University, Paris.

Proximity: A sense of the distance between elements
Similarity: The ability to be repeated with other elements
Continuation: A sense of having an extended line or pattern
Repetition: An element that can be copied numerous times

2. Balance: Symmetry, Asymmetry

Symmetry - Elements on either side of the axis are arranged similarly.

Asymmetry created by the proportion of the mass in space.

Elements differ on each side but are still in visual equilibrium.

3. Hierarchy and Path: A Visual and Intellectual journey

The composition is essential to control the progression of reading for the reader, it should not distract the attention of the reader but help to focus on the path to understand the subject. The composition should not take the lead on the subject but should serve the subject.

4. Scales and Proportions

Size: Elements of different sizes in relationships with each other
Ratio: Elements related to each other in a ratio appear together in visual harmony
Division: Elements create focal points that automatically give a sense of the relationship


Thank you for reading!

We hope this will help you for your next piece of communication - Part 2 is coming very soon!

If you have further questions please comment (we finally figured out how to activate our comment section - no comment about that! - feel free to use it, we'd love to here your thoughts about the content!) and we’ll do our best to come back with an answer that helps you! If you found this article interesting, please share it with your friends and/or people you know that might be interested to learn more about the subject!

COMING OUT NEXT WEEK

We will go into detail about what graphic design is
and what the different disciplines include!
Stay tuned!

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