Broadly speaking, graphic design is the art of designing pictures and text for books, advertising, websites, etc. It is an art that encompasses the arrangement of visual elements and media in order to represent an idea and convey a message graphically. It is represented and applied in many devices, such as the creation of websites, the designing of logos, the presentation of a book or magazine or the design of the packaging for a certain product.
The graphic design of a Web page is one of the first steps when creating a site. Therefore, it is important that you hire a person who is skilled and knows how to perform this task. Graphic designers are professionals that have been trained on how to make use of the Elements of design -color, shape, form, among others- in order to create a design that is coherent and conveys the message that it is meant to convey.
Color, for instance, carries a lot of meaning and can be used to produce a certain effect. A Monochromatic color scheme - a color scheme that uses only one color or shades of that same color- produces the effect of quietness. Analogous colors -those colors that are related to one another- are more dramatic than monochromatic, while complementary colors –those which are in opposition on the color wheel, such as black and white- demand attention and attract the eye of the viewer and neutral colors such as black, gray and white add depth to a composition.
When designing a Web page, it is also important to be familiar with the Principles of Design, which are very useful tools that help the designer to produce results that are efficient and create designs that are successful. Although content is of paramount importance in the success of a Web page, there are other features that are also important in order to meet the objective sought. These have to do with the visual impact that the elements of a Web page have on the audience. Some of the Principles of Design are focus, balance, movement, unity.
Focus refers to the point or area where the eye is drawn first, the part of a design or picture where the emphasis lies. The eye can be led to a certain focal point in a picture depending on the arrangement of the elements in the design. In order to develop focus, it is possible to use different shades in the same picture, picking out the objects that want to be stressed.
The principle of balance refers to the arrangement of the objects that appear on the screen or in printed material, which have to be in balance in order to be pleasing to the eye. If images or text are not in balance the eye feels discomfort and avoids looking at the design. There needs to be a feeling of stability and equal visual weight in the design.
The principle of movement is used in those designs that want to create a feeling of motion. Designers use the Elements of design -lines and shapes, for instance- in order to create motion in a picture that is Static. Through the overlapping of lines and shapes, for example, it is possible to convey the idea of movement in a picture.
Unity is a principle that is based on the fact that the eye tends to arrange the elements that make up an image according to their similarities. This means that in order to perceive a design as a whole the designer must arrange objects in a way that they can be grouped easily and the image can be perceived as a unity.
Another principle of design is proportion. Although it is paramount that the elements that compose an image are in proportion because if not they may impair understanding, some artists may distort proportion in order to exaggerate some aspect of their design. But if they choose to do so they have to make sure that this exaggeration is well depicted and not misunderstood.
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