and improve the clarity of your visual communication
Do you speak that visual language?
A website needs to engage a visitor in conversation within 2 seconds. As a designer it’s your job to begin that conversation. Within milliseconds visitors begin to make judgements about a site that will set the tone for everything else that follows.
In such a short amount of time the only communication between site and visitor are the visuals of your design. How confident are you with that visual communication? I wasn’t until I learned the principles of design.
Fortunately I was aware of my limitations and spent several years learning all those things you would usually learn earning a degree in graphic design.
At the time there was very little information about design fundamentals available online. As hard as it might be to believe, there was even less than there is now. I turned to the world of offline books and read, and read, and read.
Some books taught me a lot and others not so much. They often overlapped each other in the things they talked about so it was a lot of reading.
My goal with this book is to help you save some of the time I had to spend to get started. I’ve compiled what I’ve learned and organized the information in a way I think makes it easier to understand.
- Chapter 1: Visual Grammar
- A quick walkthrough of the rules of grammar for communicating visually
- Chapter 2: Elements
- Space — The forgotten element of design is perhaps the most important
- Points and Dots — Discover the most basic of marks and how they’re all about attracting the eye
- Lines — Learn how lines are used to connect, separate, and direct
- Forms and Shapes — Understand the meaning behind common shapes
- Volumes and Mass — See the sense of realism depth can add to any element or composition
- Chapter 3: Attributes
- Structures: Patterns and Textures — What’s the difference between a pattern and a texture and how do they help differentiate elements
- Size, Scale, Proportion — How do size, scale and proportion help create hierarchy and rhythm – How to develop elements that work together in harmony
- Color — One of the first things people will notice in your design is color. Make sure the colors you choose are communicating your message
- Direction and Movement — How do these characteristics of elements lead the eye around a composition
- Visual Weight and Visual Direction — The sum of all attributes. What is visual weight and why is it so important?
- Chapter 4: Principles
- Gestalt — Observations about how we perceive our visual landscape. They influence every principle of design
- Unity — The key to having your elements work in harmony both visually and conceptually
- Similarity and Contrast — Two fundamental concepts that evolved from a human survival mechanism
- Dominance and Focal Points — Learn how to lead the eye into and a composition and how to emphasize what’s most important
- Visual Hierarchy — Communicate what’s important, what’s somewhat important, and what’s ok to skip to ensure your main message gets across
- Compositional Flow — Lead visitors through your design in the order you want them to see things. Learn how to keep their eyes inside the design focused on your information
- Compositional Balance — A composition in balance feels right. Learn how to create symmetrically and asymmetrically balanced designs
One of the things that always bugged me about printed books, especially expensive technical books is they fall out of date. I’m sure you’ve bought one or more books in the past only to discover a newer edition came out a couple of months later.
Granted it’s not reasonable to expect publishers to give you a free copy when a new edition is out due to the costs of printing. But there’s no reason why I can’t give you a free copy of future versions of this book.
Design Fundamentals is a living book. I’ll continue to work on it to make it better and a more effective teach of design. Better yet, I’ll give you all future updates for free. Buy the book once, get updates free. Want more? Design Fundamentals comes with a 30-day money back guarantee. If you don’t believe the book has taught you anything about design let me know and I’ll give you your money back. Sorry I won’t be able to deliver updates to anyone who requests a refund.
Learn what your competition learned in school or refresh your knowledge of graphic design fundamentals. Give yourself the knowledge you need to visually communicate with an audience and take your design skills from amateur to professional.