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Graphic Designer's Essential Reference by Timothy Samara

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Job:07-26153 Title:RP-Graphic Designer’s Essential Reference PB Edn
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(Text)
GRAPHIC DESIGNER’S ESSENTIAL REFERENCE
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Seeing Form and Space
The fi rst step in composing a dynamic layout
is being able to decipher what, exactly, a
visual element really is—to understand the
visual element in the simplest way possible.
A silhouetted image of a teapot, for instance,
is really a dot: radial, enclosed, curvilinear;
a spoon, seen on edge, is a line. As far as
composition is concerned, the meaning or
content of a visual form is unimportant; its
true identity is what determines how it will
behave when juxtaposed with other forms.
The Basics of Building a Strong Composition
MAKE NEGATIVE SPACE AS
INTERESTING AS FORM
Consider negative space as shapes that
are created by the material you place within
a format, not as a background simply to
be fi lled up. Those shapes are exceedingly
important in a composition
they help
direct the eye, they enhance the perception
of movement, and they provide places
for the eye to rest while navigating the
composition. Analyze the shapes of negative
space above, below, and in between forms:
What are those shapes and how many are
there? Are they tight or expansive? Do they
run parallel around the forms or in opposing
directions? How different are they? Compare
the negative spaces and their distribution
around the format in this example, noting
the system of repetition and contrast they
set up as a counterpoint to positive forms.
Tip
form identity conversion table
SURFACE ACTIVITY Also
called texture or pattern, which are
themselves distinct: texture [A] is irregular,
random, or organic; a pattern [B] is repeti-
tive and/or geometric
hence, artifi cial
or invented.
DOT The fundamental building block of
visual form: a fi xed point. Simultaneously
radiates and contracts.
LINE A dot in motion. Describes direc-
tion, separates elements, defi nes spaces;
may be solid or broken.
PLANE A dot large enough for its
outer contour to become important; also
referred to as shape. Geometric forms are
mathematical and often angular, while or-
ganic forms are irregular, soft, or “natural”
in appearance.
AB
Paone Design Associates: Philadelphia, PA: USA
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Job:07-26153 Title:RP-Graphic Designer’s Essential Reference PB Edn
#175 Dtp:204 Page:16
001-035_26153.indd 16 7/12/11 10:30 AM

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