Week 1: Principles of Design
Start with a story. Good design is not about good taste or bad taste. It is about having an idea or a story and using color, type and composition to tell that story. Having an idea makes it easy to decide which typeface to choose, which color to pick and how to lay out a page. An idea can be anything from a homage to Greece, as in the classic paper cup, to communicating the simplicity of a child’s imagination in the Lego advertisement example. Over the next seven weeks we will look at hundreds of examples of (mostly) good design ideas and analyze the design decisions that support the idea.
The slides above demonstrate some basic design principles and guidelines to follow. These guidelines will help you create designs that are clear and effective. They also provide a framework for analyzing successful design work.
- Use a grid to organize the content
- Limit typography to one or two typefaces
- Choose colors and visual elements for a reason
- Establish a hierarchy of visual elements
- Distill the content and the visuals to the essential
- Be inspired
Choose a design you like. You can choose a book cover, poster, website or any form of graphic design. (If you choose a website do not pick a site that was created from a blog template). Post the design to your blog and, in a series of graphic overlays, analyze its adherence to the principles of design. Identify the underlying primary grid and the hierarchy of elements within the grid. Notice the negative/positive space composition. Identify the number and variation of typefaces and the variety represented within a single type family. Ignoring the ads, look at the palette and identify the color system. Post your work to your blog and come to class prepared to share and discuss your analysis in a 4 minute presentation. A resource for identifying fonts is http://www.myfonts.com/WhatTheFont/ What the Font? or using the Inspector tool in Google Chrome.
Use Adobe Photoshop to produce your slides. They can be stored as a PDF or ppt. A few good examples from last year’s class include an analysis of the MOMA website, a look at a Russian poster celebrating space exploration and the Steve Jobs book cover. If you are new to the concept of Photoshop layers. A 4 minute overview can be found here. I encourage you to attend the Photoshop 101 workshop on Friday @1pm.
Also, please send Katherine your blog URL.