Courses Design Principles page 5


13 Contrast of Size and Surface
Contrast is a more general principle. It basically involves using contrasting qualities for visual interest – big to small, textured to smooth, hard to soft, red to green, black to white, straight to curve, fat to thin, long to short, etc. Contrast is either similar to, or interacts with many of the other principles such as scale, interval, how much to how much, etc.

Contrast is a form of visual dynamics and a valuable design tool. Two problems are given here, but students should be aware of broader applications for contrast.

A A ten-inch composition using squares and contrast of size for visual interest.

B A ten-inch composition using two-inch squares with various surfaces to create visual interest.


14 Division of Square into Intervals of Line and Shape
Intervals occur in numerous aspects of design, and they are always deserving of consideration. The intervals dealt with in these exercises are spatial intervals. The idea is to be aware of the visual effects between different intervals, such as interval overlaps, how much to how much, tension and contrast principles, and others.

The general concept is to make visually interesting distinctions and groupings, and this most is often done through contrast.

A The first exercise is a six-inch square divided into intervals with five vertical lines. The intervals between lines is the consideration.

B The second exercise is a copy of the first with some intervals filled in as shapes. Intervals between lines and shapes is the consideration.


15 Line Intervals do Define Planes
Intervals that progressively increase and diminish create the illusion of space or depth whether lines or shapes are the elements. Intervals are a factor in other principles such as placement or scale.

Using a straight edge and rapidiograph pen, draw six-inch horizontal lines that progressively increase and decrease the intervals between lines. On the first exercise, the first interval is 3/4 inch and succeeding intervals decrease to the smallest possible interval. If the progression is faulty, the plane breaks. The illusion is a flat plane receding into space.

The second exercise, intervals diminish and increase progressively creating the illusion of an undulating ribbon. The illusion is enhanced by using two parallel undulating lines.

The visual effect should be a continuous surface that recedes and returns. If the interval proportions are incorrect, the surface plane will appear to be broken.


16 Organization and Priorities
On a 12 x 12 inch board, make a collage with a cut-paper square, circle, triangle, and add four curved or straight lines; a block of text at least six inches deep, a letterform at least three inches high, a photograph of a plane, car or ship, a headline, a trademark, a signature, a human figure (can be a photograph) and do a composition establishing priorities and organization. One color in addition to black may be used.

The objective is to compose the diverse into an orderly composition. This is done by establishing priorities, scale and placement.



17 Final Project: Composition Illustrating Application of Principles
Design a cover for the 8 1/2 x 11 inch presentation booklet using as many of the design principles as possible. Imagery can be drawn from any of the work done throughout the entire year. The words Basic Design must be incorporated into the design. Lettering is to be done by hand and reflect what was learned in the Letterform course.

There will be periodic pin-up of roughs for critique and discussion.



Book Format
The first page of the book will repeat the words Basic Design and students will sign their name.

I will provide copy for all the exercises, and students will make copies and arrange the appropriate exercise next to the image. Each student will make two books – one to turn in at reviews and the other for their own use.







Line and Shape First Semester>

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Exercise 14B


Exercise 15


17 Book Covers
. . . . . . . . . more examples


17 Book Covers

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