Chapter 3. Directing the Eye

18 Visual Hierarchy

Visual hierarchy is the pecking-order of a composition’s elements. It’s what happens when a bold headline, a brightly colored graphic, a flashy illustration, or an intriguing photograph initially snares the eye and then compels the viewer to continue following a composition’s visual cues as to where to look next, next, and next.

It all happens fast, this visual hierarchy thing, and it’s very subtle. It’s also extremely important because—as we all know—images, printed pieces, and Web pages have only a few short moments in which to call out for attention, to declare what they are all about, and to convince viewers to stick around long enough to comprehend a piece’s message.

When working on a layout ...

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