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Visual Design: Ninety-five things you need to know. Told in Helvetica and dingbats. by Jim Krause

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Chapter 10. Infusing with Intangibles

69 The Importance of Theme

First of all, just to be clear, a theme—as it’s being discussed here—is a quality, a feeling, a purpose, or an idea that pervades a layout, a logo, an illustration, or a photograph. Virtually all notable works of design and art are built around a theme of some kind or another. A theme can be subtle and pedestrian, or it can be audacious and moving—it all depends on the message you’re aiming for.

Effective works of design and art usually convey their thematic inferences through visual elements that share like-minded aesthetic and conceptual personalities.

Sometimes, however, it’s the associations between dissimilar visual elements that do a piece’s theme-generating work—as when, ...

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