A model for
creating and responding
A model for art making
The VCE Art Creative Practice supports every phase of art making and responding, from the conceptualisation of ideas and experimentation, to the development and resolution of finished artworks.
Single stages may be used for individual tasks, whereas multiple stages are used for more elaborate processes.
The Creative Practice is iterative and the components are interrelated. There are no set starting points and students may visit, leave and revisit stages as they need.
The Creative Practice is surrounded by Creative Thinking, vital for creativity and the Interpretive Lenses including the Structural, Personal and Cultural Lenses.
An outer ring encircles the diagram, reminding students that the Creative Practice is used for both art making and responding to art.
Aims of layout
The concept and practice of layout have three main aims.
- The first is to engage the attention of an audience. This is often done by creating a hook that stands out. Grabbing a viewer’s attention can be done with an image, type, colour, shape or other visual devices.
- The second aim is to enable the clear and cohesive communication of ideas and information to the audience. To communicate effectively, designers build visual consistency, so the viewer’s journey through a presentation is seamless, read clearly and with ease. In the same way, as is used for the hook, consistency is created by type, colours or other stylistic elements.
- The third is to create a tone or feeling in the presentation. Depending on the client and target audience, a designer may use a chaotic layout or a formal layout. The aesthetic tone of a layout is a communicative component of design.
Application of principles of design
VCE Visual Communication Design identifies eight principles of design. These are; balance; symmetry and asymmetry, contrast, figure-ground, cropping scale, proportion, hierarchy and pattern; repetition and alternation.
Whilst these principles of design are great starting points, there are other approaches to design (also called principles of design) that involve the use or combination of one, two or more of our Principles of Design. I will refer to them as Principles of Layout.
1.1 investigate layout
1.2 investigate composition
Principles of layout
VCE VISUAL COMMUNICATION Principles of DESIGN
Additional principles of design
According to GCFLearnFree.org layout-and-composition, there are five basic principles of composition. These are proximity, white space, alignment, contrast and repetition.
According to Shillington university's graphic-design-basic-principles, there are also five fundamental principles. These are Alignment, repetition, contrast, hierarchy and balance, including balance using tension.
Each of these lists can be read in conjunction with and alongside the VCE VCD list of Principles of Design available
Let’s examine some of these exciting principles of design. Watch the video at right.
Principles of layout
Raw materials – no principle
The concept of alignment in creates a question, how should the alignment be set? Should components be left, right or centre aligned? Should any elements be aligned in ways that make them more (or less) prominent in the design? The choice of balance is strongly related to the aesthetic constraints and the function of the visual communication being designed.
For more information on VCD Balance click here.
It is through contrast that components of a design are seen. Contrast is also used to draw attention to more important components. Contrast is the difference between two or more components of a design. Contrast is typically achieved through colour, shape, texture, type forms and images.
For more information on VCD Contrast, click here.
Hierarchy is used to organise the order in which components are to be read in a visual communication. Designers establish an order in which they want a viewer to navigate through a visual communication and then manipulate the components using their position and contrast in scale, colour, type forms, etc to create emphasis and sub-ordinance.
For more information on VCD Hierarchy click here.
Principles of Design and layout
2.1 investigate principles of design
2.2 identify and describe principles of design
Find two different ads for fast food. Choose online or print visual communications. Print them and identify instances of four of;
- white space
Describe how each of the four Principles of Design has been created and how they function in the visual communications with short annotations beside each image.
2.3 demonstrate principles of design
Create thumbnail (small, line only) layouts to demonstrate four of the following principles of design in two different ways. Use a consistent group of components such as a simple title, an image and a price (as shown above).
- white space
Place each thumbnail design layout in your visual diary and annotate each to describe how you have achieved each Principle of Design and the effect this has on the tone and the communication of ideas and information.
Space, placement and hierarchy
Four approaches to layout
Before we get into the discussion of formal grids as architecture for design, I want to show you four organic methods of progressing with our learning about composition for layout. Here are a series of widely accepted names given to different approaches to a layout. I have re-created the same SR-71 spy plane poster using the;
- circus or scrapbook layout
- multi-panel or Mondrian layout
- picture in window layout
- big type layout
Circus layout or scrapbook layout
Multi-panel layout or Mondrian layout
Picture in window layout
Collaborative task - 'Jigsaw'/ 'Experts' routine
The following task is set as a group task to promote interest and collaboration. It can easily be done individually in a senior class. For more information on how to run this thinking routine, please visit this page.
Divide the class into groups based on the four layout techniques shown above.
Research one of the layout techniques allocated to your group. Collect images, print images that illustrate and explain the conventions related to your layout technique.
3.2 Create assets
Decide on a topic in your group. Collect or make a range of resources for a poster. These include; heading/ title, a sub heading, a paragraph of information, 4 interesting facts, 4 - 6 photos, a logo, perhaps a silhouette (as I made for my plane).
3.3 design layout
Design your layout using the inspiration you have collected from your research on an A3 portrait piece of paper. Use pencil lines to divide the space.
3.4 paste up your layout
Proportion in composition
The Golden Rectangle and Fibonacci Sequence
A perfect rectangle?
The Fibonacci Grid
Rule of Odds, Rule of Thirds
The Rule of Odds
The Rule of Thirds
The Rule of Thirds Layout Grid
4.1 Discuss proportion
Consider a range of questions, including;
- What is the meaning of 'proportion' in composition? Why is it important?
- Is there such a thing as a perfect or divine proportion?
- Can mathematics be used to define aesthetic beauty?
- Do you prefer to look at odd or even numbers of things?
4.2 rule of thirds - photography
4.3 rule of thirds - design
Structure for print and web
Components of a grid
A grid layout is a layout that is designed over a formal structure of spaces made from vertical and horizontal lines. The lines usually repeat with regularity.
There are two main types of grids. Column grids and modular grids. The column grid has columns alone, and the modular grid has columns and rows. A grid can have any number of columns and rows. This is dependent on the purpose and the size of the presentation. Advanced grid construction references the typeface and type sizes that are used, when specifying column width and row height. This is to enable optimum line lengths of 40 - 70 characters (cpl) or 10 - 13 words (wpl) per line.
Margins and bleeds
Don’t forget, all page layouts have margins. Margins have a purpose in printing as pages are guillotined post printing so keeping text and image away from the edge of the page prevents errors should the cutting be a little off.
Pictures that flow right to the edge of a page are called a bleed. A full bleed refers to a picture that flows off the page in all directions. A bleed is like a negative margin in that it extends 3mm outside the margin of the page.
Unpacking the grid layout
A worked example
Let’s learn how to make a poster like this using a modular grid.
Plan your work carefully by drawing thumbnail layout sketches freehand. At this stage you need to know what your hierarchy will be. Plan it and make it work. Note: the layout on the left is done correctly, the one on the right is not. Read about the differences. Learn how to do it. It’s not about neatness, it’s about doing it right.
Using Adobe InDesign, set up margins, columns, rows, gutters and flowlines according to your design sketch.
Style the type adjusting by leading, tracking, kerning and size until it fits the grid modules – EXACTLY as you intended. Note how my SR-71 heading fits exactly between the left margin and the boundary of the second column?
Then work on your images and the body type until it fits in each column and extends right to the edges of each module.
For components like these, use the distribute function of Adobe Illustrator or InDesign to ensure that they are evenly spaced.
Here is the completed poster on screen before export.
Modular grid tasks
Analyse a grid
5.1 identify components of a grid
Margins, Columns, rows
Modules, spatial zones
5.2 reflective thinking
Construct a typographic poster
6.1 choose and research typefaces
6.2 visualisation drawings
6.3 develop ideas
Take one of the ideas you did in exercise 3.4 and develop the use of design and layout principles in another page of layout thumbnails. Don't forget to show margins, columns and other components of the grid.
Annotate your sketches to explain which ones of the design and layout principles you are emphasising.
Open an A3 portrait file in Adobe Illustrator and compose the grid you have planned in the previous steps.
Complete your poster layout using only back, white and one colour.
to the test
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