Graphic Design Fundamentals for Beginners | Web & Graphics

In this video, two of our Graphic Design instructors, Tshela and Brandon, walk you through the basic principles of graphic design. Using these foundations, you’ll be able to create balanced and appealing imagery.

Color

The first element of design is color. Brandon states that colors convey feelings, emotions, moods, and temperatures – there are “warm” and “cool” colors (shades of orange and blue). The temperature of a color can determine its use: a fall-themed graphic typically doesn’t make use of hot pink.

Size

The size of objects in relation to each other in a design affect its overall balance.

Things that are important, should naturally be bigger. Complementary or technical information should be smaller and less intrusive. What do you want your audience to look at first?

Space

Space is the area around objects, and negative space is the area between design elements. Having the right amount of space is important – too much, and your design looks empty. Too little, and things can look cluttered.

Line

A line is formed when two points are connected. Lines can be thick or thin, straight or curved, rounded or square. Lines have direction, whether they’re vertical, horizontal, or diagonal.

Lines use direction to signify movement, and lead the viewer’s eyes throughout a design.

Texture

Texture is the surface quality of a shape. Think of textures in real life – soft like silk, smooth like a stone, rough like brick, glossy like a new car.

Texture is represented in all visual arts, whether its digital design, photography, or hand-drawn sketches.

Contrast

The sum of the differences between two things is called contrast – like big and small, light and dark. We create contrast using four different methods: size, color, space, and type.

Alignment

Alignment creates order out of messy compositions. By snapping design elements to a grid, you can take formless shapes and create an organized composition. This creates visual balance and structure.

Repetition

Repeating design elements create a sense of cohesion and unity within your composition. The same forms, when seen multiple times in succession, allow the viewer’s eyes to anticipate what the rest of the design will look like.

Proximity

This is where related elements are placed together, and unrelated elements are separated. Arranging objects by size, color, and shape divides them into neat patterns that are easily digested by viewers.

Personality

The tenth principle we teach at F.I.R.S.T. Institute is personality. What you bring to a composition is fundamentally unique. Using the other nine principles and combining them with your own personal intuition is a surefire way to create bold, interesting design.

If you’d like to go beyond the basics and dive headfirst into the world of Graphic Design, check out our on-campus Graphic Design & Web Development program in Orlando, FL. Additionally, we offer brand new Graphic Design Online courses beginning in January 2020.