Elements of Graphic Design | TakeLessons Blog

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If you are one of our regular readers, you know we cover a broad range of topics, including active learning strategies, learning to play new instruments, and much more. In this blog post, we are going to cover several basic graphic design concepts.

This article will answer common questions like “What are the elements of design?” and “What is the elements of design definition?” It also breaks down each of the individual graphic design basics.

After reading this article, you should better understand the elements of design. We’ll even show you how you can learn to become a graphic designer using our online platform.

Why Learn the Basic Elements of Graphic Design?

If an individual is interested in acquiring graphic design skills, they must first understand the basic visual design elements. In addition, modern graphic designers must have strong computer skills.

Graphic design is a growing career field that offers many exciting job opportunities. Businesses in just about every industry need talented graphic designers to create content for their digital marketing campaigns. Graphic designers can partner exclusively with a single company or can take on freelance work.

Graphic design is not only an excellent career path, but it is also an enjoyable hobby. Artistic individuals will love the opportunity to create unique and captivating digital content. They can leverage the basic elements of graphic design to bring their ideas to life.

Elements of Design Definition

Before we delve into the basic elements of graphic design, it is important that we are working from a common graphic elements definition.

“Graphic elements” can best be described as the fundamental components of graphic design. For those interested in pursuing graphic design as a hobby or career, you must understand each of these building blocks. You can break down even the most dynamic content into simpler parts, such as lines, colors, and shapes.

What Are the Elements of Design?

After reviewing the graphic elements definition, it is time to discuss the basic elements of graphic design. In total, there are seven visual design elements. These elements are as follows:

1. Lines

Without lines, all of the fine details within a design would be lost. That is why lines are perhaps the most important of the seven elements of graphic design. Lines give designers the ability to make colors, shapes, and images pop. When used properly, lines can even help designers convey an emotion or simulate movement.

Graphic designers have tons of options when selecting what lines to use within a piece of content. They can use lines that are vertical, horizontal, or diagonal. In addition, they can mix up line weights or thicknesses to accent different aspects of the design.

Lines lay the groundwork for any piece of graphic design content. Therefore, designers must carefully decide when, where, and how to use lines. For instance, if a designer wants to create a piece that appears energetic and vibrant, they should incorporate atypical zig and zag lines. Conversely, more formal content should rely on big, bold lines that emphasize key pieces of information.

2. Shapes

Each of the basic elements of graphic design builds off of each other. For example, lines are used to create distinct shapes within a piece of content. A shape is created anytime the designer uses lines to enclose a section of the page.

When discussing shapes, most people think of “geometric shapes.” However, there is actually another class of shapes that graphic designers can create, which are known as “organic shapes.”

Geometric Shapes

Geometric shapes can be three-dimensional or two-dimensional, depending on the complexity of the content. Designers create geometric shapes by connecting a series of straight or curved line segments. Geometric shapes are almost always simple, traditional designs.

A few of the most common geometric shapes include triangles, squares, rectangles, and circles. Rectangles, in particular, are especially popular when designing basic web pages or ad content. This popularity stems from the fact that virtually every device (laptop, tablet, smartphone) has a rectangular screen.

Most graphic designers master the use of rectangles and other geometric figures before moving onto organic shapes.

Organic Shapes

After developing a good grasp of graphic design basics, many designers start including organic shapes into their content. Unlike geometric shapes, organic shapes do not have to be proportional or uniform. The designer can make organic shapes that are asymmetrical or symmetrical, depending on their preference.

Organic shapes may emulate natural objects, such as snowflakes, or they could be entirely abstract. Many graphic designers prefer using organic shapes when they need to grab the viewers’ attention.

3. Colors

Color is one of the most effective visual communication tools. It is also the third of our seven elements of graphic design.

The practice of effectively incorporating multiple colors into a piece of content is known as color theory. Graphic designers must understand how to choose colors that complement or contrast one another in meaningful ways.

For instance, let’s say that a graphic designer has created a foreground image and a backdrop to create the illusion of depth. In this scenario, they must carefully select the appropriate colors for each component of the content. If they choose colors that are too similar, then all images will blend together or appear to be on the same plane.

Graphic designers often group colors into one of three categories. The first category is known as the “primary colors.” The three primary colors are red, yellow, and blue. Every other color is created using some blend of these three colors.

The second category is referred to as “secondary colors.” The three colors in this category are formed by combining two of the primary colors. Green is created by combining yellow and blue. Purple is made by mixing blue and red. Lastly, designers create the color orange by combining red and yellow.

All other colors not named above can be classified as tertiary colors. Once an individual has a strong grasp of color schemes, they are ready to learn the remaining elements of graphic design.

What is the Color Wheel?

The color wheel is a concept that is used to visually represent and organize colors based on wavelength. When learning the elements of graphic design, the color wheel is a valuable tool.

Graphic designers can use the color wheel to create what are known as “Color harmonies.” There are several subtypes of color harmonies, which include:

  • Complementary colors
  • Triad color schemes
  • Analogous colors
  • Rectangular color schemes
  • Square color schemes

Complementary colors are two colors that are opposite of each other on the color wheel. Complementary colors sharply contrast one another. Conversely, analogous colors are directly next to each other on the color wheel.

As the name suggests, triad color schemes incorporate at least three different colors from the wheel. These colors are usually spaced even apart from one another. Rectangular and square color schemes each use four different colors.

Now that we have covered the concept of colors, let’s move on to the rest of the elements of graphic design.

Phina Pipia

Phina Pipia is a writer, educator, and performer. Her work can be found at phinapipia.com.

Phina Pipia

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