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Visual Design Basics

Visual design focuses on aesthetics and its related materials by implementing images, colors, fonts, and other elements. 


Basic Elements of Visual Design

  • Lines connect two points and can be used to help define shapes, make divisions, and create textures. 

  • Shapes are self-contained areas.  Every object is composed of shapes.

  • Color palette choices and combinations are used to differentiate elements, create depth, add emphasis, and organize information. 

  • Texture refers to how a surface is perceived to feel. By repeating an element, a texture will be created and a pattern formed.

  • Typography refers to chosen fonts, their size, alignment, color, and spacing.

  • Form is created by combining two or more shapes and can be further enhanced by different tones, textures, and colors.


A successful visual design applies the following principles to elements noted above and effectively brings them together in a way that makes sense.  When trying to figure out how to use the basic elements consider:


Unity is a balance between unity and variety to avoid a dull or overwhelming design.

Space helps reduce noise, increase readability, and/or create illusion. White space is an important part of your layout strategy.

Hierarchy is created through font sizes, colors, and placement on the page.

Balance creates the perception that there is equal distribution with or without symmetry.

Contrast emphasizing differences in size, color, direction, and other characteristics.

Scale identifies a range of sizes creating interest and depth.

Dominance focuses on one element as the focal point and others being subordinate. 

Similarity refers to creating continuity throughout a design without direct duplication.



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