Good Communication Design is about forming a strong relationship between the viewer and the visual. It is essential that the designers engage their viewers through visuals and effectively communicate information without realizing it. To achieve this, one must be fluent in visual thinking, design, and various principles and elements. However, the fluency only comes through practice, and rigorous training is received during a practitioner’s early learning stages, especially when enrolled in a formal degree programme. The basic principles and elements of design that every designer must learn during their foundational years include:
Hierarchy Hierachy is an essential design principle that refers to the order in which components are seen/read. Designers use this principle to visually establish the main message as the point of focus with the help of other design principles and elements like typography, colours, patterns, shapes, etc.
Contrast It is another vital design principle that helps draw attention to and lay emphasis on the important elements of design. Contrast can be created by a variety of aesthetic elements such as tone, type, scale or proportion. It also helps designers to create a hierarchy in the design.
Repetition It is a very effective tool if one wishes to reinforce their message into the subconscious of their audience and improve recall. However, sometimes a non-repeating element stands out and leaves an impression on the minds of the audience.
Colours Colours are a vital part of any and all visual communications. They are an essential element of Communication Design with the primary function of decorating, emphasising, or categorising a Design. Colours have a strong connection with human emotions and experiences and can communicate optically as well as emotionally. Colours are central to all visual communications because they add depth to the visual and enhance the effect a Design can have on the audience.
Figure and Ground Contrast Figure-ground refers to the shapes, spaces or forms used within the Design. The ‘figures’ are the central elements of the communication and the ground is the ‘environment’ or the visual space where the figures are placed.
While studying a Communication or Visual Design course, these elements and principles of design are imbibed so well in the daily practices that the student learns to use them even without giving it a second thought. Communication Designing courses like the one taught at IIAD (Indian Institute of Art and Design), the rigorous modules make design the student’s second nature.