Every day we meet many different forms of graphic design. Flyers in the mailbox, posters on high voltage poles, shop signs, banners, advertisements on Internet television, websites, mobile applications, printed publications, packaging and many more.
What makes us look at some of them with pleasure, others with pity, and still others on the web in the form of funny memes? Why do we like some projects and not others? What distinguishes a good graphic design?
Utility graphics, as the name suggests, are for some use. Of course, it is a form of art and many of its visual arts are derived from it, but graphic design has to achieve its goals, regardless of whether we are working on packaging breakfast cereals or marking the railway station in both cases the project is to achieve a certain goal.
That is why the principles of good design are inseparably connected with the assumptions concerning a given project. It is not enough that we will be guided by good typographic practices, nor that we will choose a wonderful colour scheme.
Harmony and balance
A harmonious and sustainable project is one where everything is in place. We are looking at a huge billboard and do not have the impression that it is about to fall to the ground with a bang. There is a big enough headline, there is a photo that does not disappear under the advertising slogan, the whole is arranged on an invisible grid, which makes looking at this advertisement we do not feel uncomfortable.
The easiest way to achieve visual harmony is to symmetrically plan the elements in the project. The line in the middle marks the axis of symmetry and on both sides we arrange objects of similar weight. Simple and safe solution. Our brains are shaped in such a way that we like couples, we like even things, we like balance.
Such a system gives us a sense of security and makes us feel comfortable. Simply “perfectionist heaven”. Someone will say it’s boring and predictable – ok, that’s how it is. But it’s just as good as it is. However, a good graphic design does not always have to give a sense of security.
Proportions and hierarchy
In the case of asymmetrical projects you have to pay a lot of attention to the proportions, or simply the relationship between the different elements of the project. When working with both size and color, we must balance each project area accordingly.
Properly playing with proportions also allows you to build the right hierarchy and show first important things, before the less important ones. The recipient, looking from a distance, should immediately recognize what kind of event the poster refers to, and only then familiarize himself with such things as free drinks, sponsors, or the phone number of the head of the event security.
Planning the hierarchy causes us to set the order of the information provided, so we somehow control the viewer’s eyesight. However, the rhythm is also very important, which we will direct this hungry information eye.
In general, we distinguish three rhythms: regular, progressive and fluid, and each of them has a specific influence on the recipient and his or her feelings related to the project. The rhythm also helps to attract and maintain the attention of the recipient so that he or she can get to know all the content we have to convey.
A regular rhythm is like a symmetrical composition, a simple and safe solution. The whole thing is spread out regularly at equal intervals, like in some invisible table. Everything is neatly arranged and stable without any surprising solutions. A great choice when it comes to serious and official projects.
Typography and legibility
A good graphic design has a good typography – the end and the period. Thoughtful selection of fonts, readability, hierarchy of text and proper coloring make the text information easy to receive and without any problem. The text does not blend with the background, the font fonts used are legible.
Besides, there are no bad effects that unnecessarily distract attention from the content, and the nature of the fonts used meets the objectives. Even the best photos and great colors will not save the project when we use fictious letters that are not suitable for the message.
Each of these colors has different characteristics and carries a different emotional charge, which is directed to the recipient. It is worth knowing about it in order to build a message in a conscious way and not to company a law firm with a yellow color. Unless the law firm really wants to, and we know what we are doing and we are able to shape the whole thing properly.
Coherence and repeatability
A good graphic design as a whole achieves one goal, but every single element individually takes part in this realization. In other words, everything must fit together, otherwise the whole will seem to be a work of chance, which certainly will not facilitate the reception. Consistency will certainly not be the use of fifteen typefaces, nor the use of different styles of icons.
Repeatability of textures, styles, colours and other elements makes the project pleasant to perceive. Then you can also see that there is some idea behind it, which has been consistently implemented. What is more, in the case of building visual identities or campaigns in which we use similar schemes for a long time and in many fields, we get the audience accustomed to the image we create.
There are too many of them in our public space. Besides, on the Internet there are also interesting places where you can meet the entire collection of such works. One of such places is a well-known website with a graceful name Graphic designer cried when he designed.