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What constitutes good design?

The message must be clear. Whether a poster, brochure, logo, or Web site the design should emphasize the message. Good design conveys information and communicates ideas. Poor design impairs this communication by getting in the way.The basic principles of design apply to all design disciplines writing, graphics, art and architecture, even fashion and poetry. The principles of design are tools we use to format the elements of design (color, shape, texture, etc.). Here are some of the essentials: Balance Stabilityt is based on the notion, "the whole is the sum of its parts." Using balance, design elements or the "parts" are organized to create a whole that has equilibrium. Proportion Similar to balance, good proportion maintains an agreeable relation of parts within the whole. It's the consideration of parts in relation to the whole. Contrast Contrast, created when elements are combined, provides necessary variety. Without contrast, even good design can be boring (or worse, ineffectual). While balance and proportion help to maintain cohesiveness, contrast adds interest. Economy Economy is the same as the "less is more" principle. On average, simplicity tends to emphasize a designs intent more powerfully than complexity. Direction When elements are arranged well, "movement" or the illusion of direction is created. This helps lead the viewers eye and can emphasize the design's intent. Emphasis Also known as dominance, this condition exists when design elements are arranged to create a hierarchy of visual importance. For example, the cover of a book might include a title, subtitle, and the author's name. Space Perhaps most important to overall quality of design as important as emphasis, but overlooked by many designers is space. Including space (often called white space) in a design provides its other elements with all the characteristics listed above. More often than not, a design fails without space. While the principles listed above are vital, they are not comprehensive. Thousands of books have been published on the subject of graphic design; depending on your interests and needs, seek out one or more of these for study. Links to more information about graphic design are provided here.

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