Thursday, March 11, 2010

Principals of Design: Placement

Day 17/150


The fist graphic design consideration of visual communication is placement. A component's placement in relation to the boundaries of the layout begins to communicate something to the audience. An element placed in the center of a layout communicates something different than an element placed so that the distance between the object and the borders are different on every side. Stability, tranquility, dominance, order: these are ideas associated with an equal spacing. Placing an element off-center has the effect of conveying movement, tension and uncertainty. Unequal placement usually reduces emphasis, while equal placement usually increases emphasis.


It's easy to create a guide over your layout to help you evaluate the placement of elements in a layout. Draw an X from corners of the layout, and a + through the midpoints of the sides. They should intersect at the center of the layout. The areas outside the lines, represented as dark areas in the image below, show the areas within which elements may be placed and have unequal placement.

Spacing is a concept related to placement. All spaces within a layout are important. The spacing between elements with the layout can be compared to the spacing between other elements, and any elements and the boundaries of the layout. It all and affects the communication. Equal spacing usually reduces emphasis, while unequal spacing usually increases emphasis.

The "150 Days" series is a post-per-day review of design topics to help me brush up on skills and become a better designer and new media producer as part of my career reboot.

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