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VCD Design
Principles.

VCD 2024

Conventions
of design.

Visual communication communicates through visual language. Languages transmit meanings by using principles of communication. English uses a grammatical structure - called syntax. Mathematics uses numerical structure. The visual language uses various principles in creating two-dimensional compositions and three-dimensional forms. These principles of selection and arrangement of components, without which a design cannot exist, are called design principles. Through their use over time, they have become conventions of design.

In addition to the eight Design Principles, there are also seven Gestalt principles of visual perception and a couple of Principles of Layout. These additional principles are explained lower on this page.

Students may notice that different senior high school subjects use similar but different lists of design principles. VCE Art CP, M&E, VisualCommunication Design and Product Design & Technology each have their own lists. This page refers to the Design Principles for VCE VisualCommunication Design.

DESIGN Principles

Introduction

The Design Principles are the conventions (fundamental strategies) for selection, arrangement and composition in visual communication. The discussion of design principles is largely derived from the study of Messages and Interactive Experiences but are equally relevant to the study of Environments and Objects. VisualCommunication Design refers to the Design principles in all design fields of design.

USING DESIGN ELEMENTS AND PRINCIPLES IN PRACTICAL EXERCISES

Students may be asked to demonstrate their understanding of design elements and principles by drawing a given shape or letter into a new composition. Other tasks ask students to design a visual communication using constraints including design elements and principles. Students should be mindful that in demonstrating their understanding of design elements and principles in practical examples, they need to emphasise the selected element or principle. To do this successfully, they should ensure that their selection of element or principle is clearly focussed on that element or principle. For example, shapes should be shown as a continuous figure, without the use of line or tone.

ON CHOOSING THE BEST DESIGN ELEMENTS AND PRINCIPLES FOR ANALYSIS QUESTIONS

In written tasks requiring the analysis of design elements and principles, students should be aware that only elements and principles that clearly suit the examples should be chosen. Time spent on careful selection of the best, most emphasised elements and principles is time spent well. Students then concentrate their discussions solely on the element or principle being analysed.

When discussing the role of design elements and principles in design, the use of a correct verb is important. Students should note that an element is usually used to create an effect and a principle is often created by the manipulation of an element. For example: Different kinds of shapes (element) have been used to create contrast (principle).

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Order this poster to compliment your learning. Click on the image above to find out more. Alternatively, get a VCD poster set or find it in the VCD Theory Reference Kit.

Balance

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Balance symmetry.
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Balance asymmetry.
Description

Balance in visual communication refers to the arrangement of components on two sides of a seen or implied vertical axis. There are two ways to balance a composition.

Symmetrical balance is where the two sides of the composition are exactly the same (or very nearly the same) and they make a mirror image of each other. Symmetrical balance creates a static, stable composition and is suited to informative or instructional visual communications.

Asymmetrical balance is where the two sides of a composition are balanced, yet are not mirrored. In order to achieve a balance that is off-centre, different-sized components are given more or less visual weight. Visual weight is increased or decreased by changing one or more of; tones, colours, sizes or distance/ proximity to the central axis. Visual communications employing asymmetrical balance create a more dynamic composition and are suited to purposes where audiences are encouraged to interact with the design.

Balance in communication design may also refer to components set on either side of the horizontal axis. This involves the broader study of composition and includes grid layout, random layout, radial balance, spiral balance, and triangular composition.

Balance in industrial and environmental design involves the physical balance of structure.

IDENTIFY
The kind of balance used in the visual communication. State if it is symmetrical balance or asymmetrical balance. Identify the parts on each side that make up the composition and state how they create the balance you have identified.
Discuss
When describing balance, one is required to explain how the balance has been created. This usually involves a discussion of relevant design elements. The kind of balance present in visual communication is related to its purpose. The analysis explains how the balance, identified and explained contributes to the communication of ideas to that end.
Model answer

Sample Question

Describe the balance in the two 'balance icons'.

Sample Answer

The icon for symmetrical balance (above) uses symmetrical balance. Each side of the composition is the same. They have the same shapes and colours.

The icon for asymmetrical balance (also above) uses asymmetrical balance. The darker section on the left has a large white circle. The right side has a small white circle. The visual weights of both sides a balanced. The dark green has more visual weight but it has less area. The small white circle has less visual weight but it is further from the central axis, making it 'heavier'. This composition is asymmetrically balanced.

contrast

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Description

Contrast refers to a difference between two or more components of a visual communication.

A contrast may be created by the variation of any aesthetic qualities or components including; shape, colour, tone, texture, line, type, scale or proportion.

In partnership with other design elements and/ or principles, contrast is used to create emphasis, a focal point, and visual tension and can assist with building hierarchy in a design.

IDENTIFY
The aesthetic qualities or components that are being used to create a contrast. State clearly if colour, shape, texture, etc. are being used to create the contrast.
Discuss

Contrast is described by adjectives such as strong or subtle. Describe how much of a contrast has been created, then explain how it is created by making reference to design elements or principles or other aesthetic qualities.

The kind of contrast present in the visual communication is related to its purpose. The analysis explains how the contrast, identified and explained contributes to the communication of ideas to that end.

Model answer

Sample Question

Describe how contrast has been created on a beach festival poster.

Sample Answer

In a promotional poster for a beach festival, large, ballon-shaped type forms reading 'Summer BeachFestival' were coloured in bright primary colours reminiscent of those found on a beach ball. Both the colours and the rounded shapes in the title contrast strongly with a black and white checkered squares background. This contrast made the title appear to come forward and engage the target audience.

Figure-ground

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Description

Figure-ground refers to the relationship between a figure (shape, object, type) and its background.

Although sharing most characteristics of the concepts' positive and negative shape' or 'form and counter form', figure-ground in visual communication emphasises the role of ground beyond it being simply a void in a composition.

Figure ground is instrumental in providing legibility in visual communication. However, designers may choose to emphasise figures by creating strong contrasts in colour, texture etc., or to hide them in opposite ways.

The strength of the figure-ground used is related to the purpose of visual communication. Logos often employ a strong-ground relationship.

IDENTIFY
The aesthetic qualities or components that are being used to create the figure-ground. State clearly if colour, shape, texture, etc. are being used to create the figure-ground relationship.
Discuss

The strength of the figure-ground relationship. State clearly if it is a strong (contrasting)or weak (subtle or camouflaged) relationship.

Describe the extent to which the figure-ground relationship contributes to hierarchy in reference to the purpose of the visual communication.

Model answer

Sample Question

Describe the figure-ground in the wildlife logo.

Sample Answer

A black and white bird in a wildlife preservation logo contrasted strongly with its soft, grey, circular background giving it a strong figure-ground relationship. The bird, constructed of triangular shapes appeared to stand off the background which was feathered at its edge. This strong relationship emphasises the subject of the logo, the bird.

Cropping

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Description

Cropping refers to the cutting of a component in a visual communication. This may be achieved through framing or masking.

Cropping makes a vibrant statement as it both enables the use of oversize figures and makes them seem like they extend beyond the edge of the frame and into imaginary space. Cropping is related to an 'open' composition where a figure extends beyond the frame. This is different from a 'closed' composition, where the figure is painted so it is surrounded evenly by the ground.

IDENTIFY
The figure, the ground and the frame or format of the image.
Discuss
Discuss the extent to which a figure has been trimmed by a frame of a format and evaluate the role of cropping in the purpose of the visual communication. Ask yourself why has cropping been used?
Model answer

Sample Question

Describe how cropping has been used to emphasise the aesthetics of a Helvetica type form.

Sample Answer

A bold lowercase letter 'a' has been offset and tightly cropped in the icon (above). This was done to emphasise the interesting abstract shapes and counter forms of 'Helvetica' and to give more space to the orange ground, as it intertwines back into the figure. This emphasises the curves of the type form, rather than allowing the viewer to interpret it simply as a letter.

Hierarchy

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Description
Hierarchy is a key design principle in the fields of Messages and Interactive Experiences. It refers to the order in which components of the design are seen and read. Hierarchy is created by the use of design elements and principles including scale, colour, shape, and other factors such as position and proximity. Objects nearer the centre and the top of a composition command more attention.
IDENTIFY
The components that create hierarchy in visual communication. Identify a minimum of three steps in the reading order.
Discuss

How components include design elements and principles have been used to create hierarchy.

Identify three steps in the reading order then explain how the reader might first be drawn to the visual communication and then work their way through it, reading the information in a predetermined order of diminishing importance.

Explain how each component functions in relation to others.

Model answer

Sample Question

Describe the use of hierarchy in the icon above.

Sample Answer

An effective hierarchy has been created in the icon (above). A white dot contrast in shape and tone with a red band so is read first. The red band is read second as it appears behind the white dot and shares shape with the grey bands. Subsequent reading through the icon moves to the other grey dots and bands as they move away from the centre and their tones diminish in contrast.

Scale

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Description

Scale refers to the relative sizes of similar or same objects in visual communications. They may be type forms, shapes or images.

Scale in Messages and Interactive Experiences is an effective component in the creation of hierarchy. Larger things draw attention. Scale also helps to create depth (the appearance of three-dimensional space).

In industrial and environmental design scale plays a role in components where they are designed as a certain size relative to other parts of structures or to the size of a human. Scale is expressed as a ratio - The object:the size of the representation.

IDENTIFY

The relative sizes of component parts are. Say which parts are the biggest and smallest.

Relate this understanding to the discussion of hierarchy, depth and/or balance.

Discuss

Describe the effect of having components of different sizes. One may also choose to discuss the scale of a component relative to the size of the format itself.

When designers are asked to apply one design to a variety of formats (poster, ticket, website, banner) they often have to change the scale of the components.

Model answer

Sample Question

Describe how scale has been used to create hierarchy on the book cover.

Sample Answer

There were several stylised drawings of trees on the cover of a booklet. Each tree was drawn with a similar shape but at a different size. This created an effect of depth on the cover. The large trees seemed to come forward and the smaller ones recede. The title of the book was written on the bark of the largest and most central tree. Scale assisted in creating an effective hierarchy.

Proportion

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Description

Proportion refers to the ratio of the dimensions of a component. Two components may be similar in shape, however, the length and height of each are different. They are said to be of different proportions. One needs to be careful not to confuse proportion with scale. Proportion is not overall size, it refers to the ratio of height, width and/ or depth to each other.

Different (presentation) formats also are of different proportions. They have different heights and widths. Some easy to relate to formats are;

  • Landscape
  • Portrait
  • Square
  • Widescreen (16x9)
  • TV (4x3)

A similar design will have to be adjusted to suit each of the above formats as they have different proportions.

Proportion can also refer to how much of a kind of content. Think about the proportion of image to text on this page compared with the proportions of image to text on my artwork page. Very different.

IDENTIFY

The relative height, width, length, and depth of two or more components of a visual communication.

Identify the format used in a visual communication. Compare it with others if required.

Discuss

Proportions of components referring to their heights, widths, etc. relative to each other. You may use adjectives such as tall, thin, squat, wide, condensed or extended.

How the size and quantity of the components of a visual communication have been modified to suit formats of different proportions.

The proportion of types of content to each other. This may relate to the discussion of balance and hierarchy.

Model answer

Sample Question

Describe how point has been used on the map.

Sample Answer

In the icon (above) there are two capital letter 'A's. They are from the same typeface. However, the proportions have been adjusted so that the left 'A' is tall and thin and the right, is short and fat. The two characters are of different proportions.

Pattern

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Pattern repetition.
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Pattern alternation.
Description

The term pattern refers to the repetition of one or more visual units (shape, image, etc). In our study, there are two kinds of patterns. Repetition is where the same kind of visual unit repeats and alternation is where different units repeat in a rhythm.

Pattern can create shade, texture or decoration. Patterns usually have historical and cultural origins and are a fantastic way to embed intercultural understanding into designs. Pattern-making has been a meaningful and cathartic human undertaking for centuries.

IDENTIFY

If the pattern is in repetition or alternation. The kinds of visual components that make up the pattern using design elements up the and/or principles.

The rhythm or density of the pattern units to the ground.

The historical, national and cultural heritage of the pattern if any.

Discuss

The purpose, use or function of a pattern.

The exact makeup of the pattern using design elements and/or principles.

The kind of rhythm the pattern is producing.

The overall aesthetic effect of the pattern.

Model answer

Sample Question

Describe the use of type in the movie flyer.

Sample Answer

'Tartan' cloth has a pattern made from woven thread. It is an alternating pattern formed by parallel horizontal and perpendicular lines of light and dark-coloured thread that seem to overlap and create layers above and below each other. In addition, other parallel lines with a much more widely spaced rhythm create squares of the base colour to form a kind of background. Tartan has a rich history as families from different regions in Scotland were known for their unique tartan design.

task

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Show I know ...
The following tasks are intended to help students stage their writing by separating the command functions of analysis. Choose appropriate examples of visual communication from the fields of Messages, Objects, Environments and Interactive Experiences.
1.1 Identify
Identify design principles that have been used to organise components in a visual communication.
1.2 Describe

(This is typically a difficult step, that students omit when they go directly to explain how...)

Describe the kinds of design principles. Are they used symmetrically or asymmetrically or do they appear strongly or weakly?

1.3 Explain, discuss
Explain or discuss how the design principles have been created. Refer to the design elements that have been used to create the design principles and how they have been used.
1.4 Compare
Compare the ways designers have used one design principle to communicate different ideas in two visual communications.

Gestalt principles of visual perception

The Gestalt principles of visual perception refer to a set of principles that describe how humans perceive (make sense of) and organise visual information into meaningful patterns. These principles can be applied to communication and interactive experience design to help create more effective and engaging designs and user experiences.

The following are the seven Gestalt principles of visual perception used in VCD Visual Communication Design:

  • Proximity
    Objects that are close to each other tend to be perceived as a group or a unit. This principle can be used to organise visual elements and create a visual hierarchy.
  • Continuity
    Humans tend to perceive objects as a continuous whole, even if they are interrupted by other objects or lines. This principle can be used to create flow and movement and direct users to specific parts of designs.
  • Similarity
    Objects that are similar in appearance tend to be grouped together. This principle can be used to create patterns, organise visual elements, and establish a visual theme.
  • Closure
    Humans tend to perceive incomplete objects as complete if the missing parts can be inferred. This principle can be used to create visual puzzles and intrigue.
  • Common Fate
    Humans perceive elements that move in the same direction at the same time as a unified group or object.
  • Figure-Ground
    Humans tend to perceive an image in terms of a figure (the main subject or object) and the background. The figure is usually seen as more prominent than the background, and it can be emphasized by using contrast, colour, or size.
  • Focal Point
    When humans see an image, they tend to focus on a specific point or area within the image. This focal point often becomes the centre of attention and stands out from the rest of the image. Careful creation of a focal point can direct users to specific parts of designs.

By understanding and applying these principles, designers can create more effective and engaging Messages and Interactive Experiences. For example, using contrast and size to emphasise a figure can help draw the viewer's attention to the most important elements of a design, while using proximity and similarity can help organise visual elements to communicate messages clearly.

Proximity

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Description

Proximity is used in communication design and interactive experience design to help designers create visual hierarchies and organise information in a way that is easy for users to understand and navigate.

Proximity can be used to group related elements together, such as headlines and body copy, or images and captions. By grouping related elements together, designers can create a visual hierarchy that guides the user's eye through the design and communicates the intended message in a clear and effective way.

In interactive experience design, proximity can be used to group related buttons or links together, making it easier for users to understand the interface. For example, in a website design, the designer might group the primary navigation links together in a menu at the top of the page, while grouping secondary links together in a sidebar or footer.

By understanding how proximity affects visual perception, designers can create designs that are intuitive, easy to navigate, and communicate their intended message effectively.

In analysis

Consider and describe how a designer has deliberately grouped similar and similarly functioning elements together. This will include how these groups are moved away from different ones.

Discuss and explain the effect of the use of proximity.

In practical work
Determine the purpose or function of each component to be used in a design. Group like components together and move them away from unrelated components. Use proximity with scale and white space to achieve effective results.

Continuity

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Description

Gestalt continuity in communication design and interactive experience design refers to the way our brains naturally group together elements that are visually and conceptually similar. This principle is based on the Gestalt theory, which suggests that our brains perceive the whole of an object or scene, rather than just its individual parts. In design, gestalt continuity is used to create a sense of flow and coherence, allowing users to navigate through a design or interface more easily by determining the direction of flow a designer wants the user to take.

Continuity can be achieved by grouping together similar elements, such as colors, shapes, or patterns, so that they appear to belong together and form a cohesive whole. For example, in website design, continuity might be used to create a consistent visual hierarchy, with headers, subheadings, and body text all using the same font and color scheme.

In interactive experience design, continuity can also be used to create a sense of progression or narrative flow. For example, in a video game, continuity might be used to create a consistent visual style and user interface across different levels or stages, so that players feel like they are part of a cohesive story.

Continuity helps to create a sense of order and coherence, making it easier for users to engage with and understand the design or interactive experience.

In analysis

Consider and describe how a designer has deliberately created a narrative or reading direction through a design. This may include the colours, sizes, shapes, positions, etc of components.

Discuss and explain the effect of the use of continuity.

In practical work
Determine the order or direction you want your reader to engage with your design. Style components cohesively, using consistent typefaces, colours, or other visual elements to give a reader a smooth, meaningful experience across a field.

Similarity

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Description

With gestalt similarity, elements that share similar attributes, such as colour, shape, size, texture, or orientation, are perceived as belonging together and forming a coherent group, despite actually them coming from different groups. This is used in communication design and interactive experience design to create appealing and understandable compositions and guide user interactions and facilitate usability.

In communication design, similarity can be used to create visual hierarchy and structure, by styling related elements together and separating them from other elements that serve a different purpose.

In interactive experience design, gestalt similarity can be used to create clear and intuitive interfaces, by using consistent visual cues and feedback to guide user actions. For example, a mobile app designer might use a consistent button style and color to indicate which elements are clickable and which are not, or use a consistent animation or sound effect to indicate that a task has been completed successfully.

Similarity helps designers create effective and engaging visual experiences, by leveraging the innate principles of human perception to communicate information and guide user behavior.

In analysis

Consider and describe how a designer has deliberately styled similarly functioning components of a design or interface to facilitate meaningful and intuitive user interaction. Explain the elements and principles of design that have been used to ensure these components' separation from the rest of the design.

Discuss and explain the effect of the use of similarity.

In practical work
Determine the purpose or function of each component to be used in a design. Style or treat similarly functioning components in a consistent manner to facilitate easy user interaction.

Closure

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Description

Closure in design suggests that the human mind has a tendency to perceive incomplete forms or shapes as complete ones. In other words, people can be led to see closure or completeness in the things they see, even if parts of shapes or forms are missing.

In communication design, closure is used to create cohesive designs by manipulating shapes, colours, and other visual elements to prompt the viewer to complete the missing parts. For example, a logo design that features an abstract shape that is not entirely closed can be understood as a completed shape.

In interactive experience design, closure can be used conceptually to guide the user's attention and create a sense of flow. Interactive experiences often involve a series of actions or steps, and designers can use closure to visually connect these steps.

Closure allows designers to engaging and cohesive designs that communicate ideas and information and guide users through an interactive experience.

In analysis

Consider and describe the ways designers present ideas and information. Are any parts of the design left out to de-clutter and promote engagement?

Discuss and explain the effective use of closure, where it is present.

In practical work

Using the Principles of Good Design, consider how much of a design is actually necessary in order for a user to understand it correctly.

Instead of adding components in refinement, remove them. Simplify, clarify and de-clutter your work to inspire audience engagement.

Common Fate

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Description

Gestalt common fate is a principle of perceptual organisation that states that objects that move or behave together are perceived as belonging together. Just as a human tends to see a flock of birds twisting and turning synchronously as one, common fate can be used to unit elements of a design that share a similar motion or behaviour. For example, a home screen on a mobile phone uses the common movement of icons to group them together as a coherent entity. Common fate is different from the other Gestalt Principles of Visual Perception because of the use of movement or animation. In this way, common fate may supersede other Gestalt Principles of Visual Perception.

In interactive experience design, common fate can be used to unite different elements of an experience. For example, a game might use a common visual cue to indicate when the user is entering a new area or interacting with a new object.

Gestalt common fate helps designers create engaging and effective communication and interactive experiences. By using this principle to tie together elements of a design or experience, designers create a sense of unity and coherence that enhances the user's engagement, understanding and enjoyment of the content.

In analysis

Consider and describe how a designer has deliberately grouped and animated similarly functioning, though perhaps differently appearing visual elements together to create a coherent entity.

Discuss and explain the effective use of common fate.

In practical work
Determine the purpose or function of each component to be used in a design. Group, animate or treat similarly functioning components together for a cohesive user experience.

Figure-Ground

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Description

The gestalt principle of "figure-ground," states that our minds naturally perceive objects as being distinct from their surroundings. In communication design and interactive experience design, the concept of figure-ground is essential to creating clear and effective designs that can quickly and easily communicate information to the viewer or user.

Figure-ground refers to the idea that visual elements can be perceived as either the focal point (figure) or the background (ground) of a composition. Designers use this principle to create visually appealing and balanced layouts that guide the viewer's eye to the most important information.

In interactive experience design, figure-ground can be applied to the user interface to create clear and intuitive navigation. By using contrast and visual hierarchy, designers can make interactive elements stand out as the figure and create a clear distinction between them and the background.

Figure-ground is crucial to effective communication and interaction design. By using it carefully, designers can create designs that are intuitive and meaningful.

In analysis

Consider and describe components that are intended to serve as the 'figure'. Explain how the designer has used the elements and principles of design to separate them or blend them with their back-'ground'.

Discuss and explain the effective use of figure-ground.

In practical work
Determine how prominent each component of a design is intended to be. Use the elements and principles of design carefully to create effective figure-ground relationships - promoting better user experience and assisting with accessibility.

Focal point

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Description

Gestalt focal point refers to a human's tendency to perceive and group visual elements based on their proximity, similarity, and continuity. This means that when we look at a visual design, our brain automatically tries to make sense of the information by organising it into meaningful patterns. The focal point is the specific area or element within a design that immediately grabs our attention and draws us in. It can be created using various design techniques such as colour, contrast, size, placement, and typography.

For example, in a communication design, the focal point could be a large, bold headline with a contrasting colour that is placed prominently on the page. This draws the viewer's attention to the headline and communicates the main message of the page.

In interactive experience design, the focal point can be used to guide users through a specific flow or to draw attention to important elements within the interface. For example, in a mobile app, the focal point could be a large button with a bright colour that invites users to take a specific action.

Using focal point, designers can create effective and engaging designs that communicate their intended message clearly and efficiently.

In analysis

Consider and describe how a designer has emphasised certain design elements and principles to direct a viewer's eye to a specific part of a design.

Discuss and explain the effective of the use of focal-point.

In practical work
Determine the purpose or function of each component to be used in a design. Group like components together and move them away from unrelated components. Use proximity with scale and white space to achieve effective results.

task

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Show I know ...
The following tasks are intended to help students stage their writing by separating the command functions of analysis. Choose appropriate examples of visual communication from the fields of Messages, Objects, Environments and Interactive Experiences.
2.1 Identify
Identify Gestalt Principles of Visual Perception that have been used to make meaningful, engaging and intuitive experiences in visual communications.
2.2 Describe

(This is typically a difficult step, that students omit when they go directly to explain how...)

Referring to the elements and principles of design, describe the way the designer has created the Gestalt Principles of Visual Perception.

2.3 Explain, discuss
Explain or discuss how the Gestalt Principles of Visual Perception have been used in a selected example of visual communication to create a result such as a cohesive, intuitive or engaging experience for a user.
2.4 Compare
Compare the ways designers have used one Gestalt Principle of Visual Perception differently, in two visual communications.

Additional principles of layout

Working together with all the design principles and the Gestalt Principles of Visual Perception, are two additional principles that can be applied when designing effective visual communications and interactive experiences. These two principles are explained briefly below.

Alignment

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Description

The layout principle of alignment is a fundamental concept in communication design and interactive experience design. It refers to the practice of arranging and organising elements on a page or screen in a way to create visual harmony and balance.

In communication design, alignment is used to create a clear visual hierarchy. This means that the most important elements, such as the headline or main image, are given prominence and are placed in a prominent position on the page. Other elements are then arranged around these key elements in a way that creates balance and symmetry. For example, if a headline is left-aligned, the body text may also be left-aligned to create a sense of continuity.

In interactive experience design, alignment is used to create a sense of consistency and familiarity. This is particularly important in interfaces such as websites and mobile apps, where users need to be able to navigate the interface quickly and easily. Consistent alignment of elements such as buttons, menus, and text fields can make it easier for users to understand how to interact with the interface and where to find the information they need.

Overall, the layout principle of alignment is used to create a clear visual hierarchy and a sense of consistency, designers can ensure that their designs are effective in communicating their message and engaging their audience.

In analysis

Consider and describe how a designer has aligned the components of a design. Consider the relationships between the components, how alignment and proximity are used together and the relationships between the components and the underlying architecture or structure of the design.

Discuss and explain the effective use of alignment in a design.

In practical work
Align elements with each other and with the underlying architecture of a design. Use alignment, proximity, white space and other principles of design together to create cohesive and engaging visual communications and interactive experiences.

White space

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Description

White space refers to the areas of a composition that are left empty, usually surrounding or between visual elements. White space can be any colour, not necessarily white, but it is referred to as such because it is often left blank or unadorned. White space helps improve readability and guides the viewer's attention to important information. By using white space effectively, designers can create a sense of visual hierarchy and emphasise key content to create a more engaging user experience.

In communication design, white space can help to convey a sense of elegance and sophistication, while also improving legibility and readability. By leaving space around text and images, designers can draw the viewer's attention to the most important information.

In interactive experience design, leaving space between interactive elements can help to create a sense of clarity and organisation, making it easier for users to understand and navigate the interface. White space can also be used to create a sense of calm and simplicity, which is particularly important in mobile or web design where users are often overwhelmed with information and stimuli.

By using white space effectively, designers can create elegant and engaging designs, and help to improve overall user experience.

In analysis

Consider and describe how a designer has created and used white space to direct a viewer's eye to a specific part of a design and make it more important

Discuss and explain the effective use of white space.

In practical work
Determine the purpose or function of each component to be used in a design. Deliberately enlarge, reduce and move components further away from each other to create more elegant and striking compositions. Create tension in your design to make it more engaging.

task

Image
Show I know ...
The following tasks are intended to help students stage their writing by separating the command functions of analysis. Choose appropriate examples of visual communication from the fields of Messages, Objects, Environments and Interactive Experiences.
1.1 Identify
Identify the kind of alignment that has been used to organise components in a visual communication.
1.2 Describe

(This is typically a difficult step, that students omit when they go directly to explain how...)

Describe how a designer has achieved white space between components of a design. Consider the role of scale and proximity in this discussion.

1.3 Explain, discuss
Explain or discuss how alignment and white space have been used to simplify and organise information in a visual communication.
1.3 Compare
Compare the ways designers have used alignment and white space differently to communicate different ideas, concepts or information in two different visual communications.