Learning the Basic Elements and Principles of Graphic Design

The Basics of Graphic Design: The Elements

There are in total six elements of a design which you need to be aware of: the line, the shape, the color, the texture, the value and the space.

1. The line

The line is usually present in every design, even if it is a solid border of 1px or a dotted one of 5px. Every website has lines, but the minimalistic style which became more popular in the past couple of years tries to erase the lines from the layouts, or at least to decrease the use of them. The lines can be long, red, straight, thin, blue, dashed, short, black or curved, they are all into the same category. They are most of the time used for delimitation between different sections of a design, or are used to direct a viewer’s vision in a specific direction.

The lines can create different effects and visual impact. While a thick, bold line draws attention because of its visual power, the thin lines tend to go the other way. The color has an impact too, dark colors are easier to see and draw more attention than light or pale colors.

And this is not all. The style of a line can also influence the way the user sees it. This style can easily be defined through CSS and can be solid, dotted and dashed among others. The solid lines have a different impact than the dotted ones, because they are more imposing. The minimalistic style which I’ve talked about earlier uses either less solid lines or more curved lines, because they give a dynamic and fluid look to a design, which is also the purpose of the style. They indicate energy, keep the user interested and, if combined with illustration, are very powerful to the human eye.

Many years ago solid lines were very popular because they determined the style of the design: rigid, solid and organized. The web changed in the past years and this style is not very popular anymore, especially for designers’ portfolios and other pages with a strong need of a personal touch.

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