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Principles of Design

These are the tools that blend the ingredients for any design project. You can use all the design elements, but if you don't blend them with rhythm, balance, contrast, etc., then you don't have a cake. There are eight design elements that are pulled together by these eight design principles.

  • Balance - Balance helps the viewer decide how to interpret your design. If it's designed with asymmetrical balance, the design will evoke emotions like excitement, curiosity, or anxiety. If the design is symmetrical, or totally even, it will convey peace, calm, and tranquility.
  • Contrast - Without values, you can't create contrast. Without smoothness or roughness (or the illusion of those textures), you aren't dealing with contrast. You can use various design elements to create contrast. Without contrast there would be no day or night and without contrast you cannot create an interesting design.
  • Direction - Direction is the way to lead the viewer's eye through your design layout or composition. Direction is created by line, but it also can be created by the way you use color to lead the eye through a design. Shapes, spaces, values, and perspective all create the illusion of depth in two-dimensional design, and this depth is needed to create a direction for the eye to take that journey. In three-dimensional design those shapes, spaces, values, and perspectives are all used to lead people through a design.
  • Economy - If you can remove an element within a design and that design still works, then you've practiced economy in design. Don't offer more than is needed, but be sure to include all that is needed to create an intelligent and economical design.
  • Emphasis - You can lead that viewer all through your garden, through your building, through your advertisement, or through your painting, but if you don't stop that viewer with one point of interest, then you've lost your viewer. The emphasis in a design is the message that you want to convey.
  • Proportion - You can use proportion to create surreal images (like Dali) to shock your viewers into noticing your work. Or, you can use proportion realistically to emphasize the message conveyed through typography. Proportion gives the viewer a leg to lean on. In other words, a realistic composition creates a feeling of balance, whereas unrealistic proportions create a feeling of emphasis on the object that's out of proportion.
  • Rhythm - Repetition, rhythm, bam, bam, bam. While this principle of design can create boredom, it can also be used to create depth (one element smaller than the next), excitement or peace (contrast), or emphasis on a certain subject. Like music, rhythm keeps the world singing and dancing.
  • Unity - This is the principle that pulls a design together. While there's no one rule for unity, this principle can remind you to check all the other design elements and principles so that you know you haven't missed a tick in your plans.

Schools and Colleges offering design degrees:

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Master of Fine Arts: Graphic Design
  • Liberty University’s online programs ranked in the top 10 out of more than 2,100 colleges & universities for academic quality, affordability, and accessibility.*
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Graphic Design, Bachelor of Science (Online)
  • Full Sail University offers online degree programs that are designed for the world of entertainment, media, arts, and technology. Full Sail's approach is centered on real-world industry experience and creative problem solving.
  • Full Sail uses the experience and knowledge gained from more than three decades of educational innovation to create an unparalleled online education experience that challenges and inspires our students.
  • Learning at Full Sail has always centered around interaction and the exchange of ideas, and our online curriculum fully embraces this philosophy with the aim of being the most people-focused education experience on the web.
  • Through Full Sail’s multitude of online program offerings, students get: One-click access to instructors, Powerful collaborative tools, Interactive learning environments and Innovative curriculum.
  • Full Sail's newest program is the Dan Patrick School of Sportscasting. Developed in collaboration with sportscasting veteran Dan Patrick, the goal is to provide students with real world experience both behind and in fornt of the camera.
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  • Online Courses
Graphic Design (BS)
  • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
  • Has a team of about 4,000 faculty members focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
  • Offers programs in design, media arts, fashion, and culinary.
  • Provides program coordinators who work with students to ensure they have the learning materials, assignments, facilities, and faculty to get the most out of the program.
  • Over 50 campus locations nationwide.
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Graphic Arts (AAS)

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