The 7 Magical Elements of Graphic Designing That Everyone Should Know

Graphic designing is an art, and it surprises everyone. If you are fond of one of those creative monkeys who jump here and there for jaw-dropping ideas, then welcome to this article. The most important aspect of any work is to know the basics.

When you observe professional designers you would see that these artists have secrets up their sleeves which make their work look professional. It doesn’t matter if you have free tools with yourself, the wannabe graphic designers usually lack the foundation to create a consistently shiny and polished designs.

According to Rahul Agarwal, founder of Designhill, there are 7 basic elements of graphic designing and we are going to cover them here. Although we are not diving deep with this material, still it will boost your knowledge as for how you should create content, and it will help you to improve your ability and let your design communicate on behalf of you.

So let us cover these seven elements that are necessary to be a better graphic designer. Here we will discuss, why you should care about it, and how can you use them for creating a more professional work—even when you are broke.

  • Color

It is widely known that it was Sir Issac Newton who created the first color wheel in the year 1706. Let me tell you the great story of how it was made, Newton when he was passing the white light through a prism tool, a spectrum of color was produced due to reflection and refraction. After having the VIBGYOR (Violet, Indigo, Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange, and Red), he arranged them in a circle. Once it was formed he used to spin the circle and hence when the disk was rotated these colors blurred together, these blurred colors were appearing white to the eyes. The image below was illustrated by the French painter Claude Boutet in 1708 and is the reference to Newton’s color theory research.

You can see the image below and get an idea as of how the color wheel invented by Newton appeared.

Newton’s research of colors was widely appreciated by scientists, artists and philosophers over the years; this was what resulted in invention of the modern color wheel as it is known.

The modern color wheel is not exactly like that of Newton’s color wheel. Where Newton’s color wheel consisted of 7 colors, i.e., VIBGYOR, the modern one only consists of three primary colors, and these are – red, yellow and blue—and as known these can be mixed to produce various secondary and intermediate colors. However, with the development of modern research, it is known that color theory is not as simple as that. The color wheel is still a very important tool for designers who are drawn to please their art with various color combinations.

When you are doing a project and want to select hues, you should always consider selecting the color that is directly opposite or beside each other on the wheel—it is known that these are most excellent combinations and consistent as well. Another simple way is that you can use an online color scheming tool, which is free, like, most of the times it will do the work for you.

The Vibrant Combinations

For example, the picture below is from ∆ Studio–JQ ∆  and it is an incredible example of complimentary colors. Violet and yellow, these are the colors that are opposite of each other on the modern color wheel, it produces a bold effect; it is visually appealing when they are paired.

  • Lines

Lines are not just a tool that would divide your art—lines are essential elements to convey the path, the emotion; it is a vital element to make your composition look polished, complete and professional.

Rikard Rodin is a graphic designer and a blogger. He has worked in the field of graphic designing for over 15 years and he believes that lines form the underlying architecture of any project. If you decide to define the movement of line in your composition before starting work it can be beneficial to construct an art which will achieve the desired emotion.

He says,

“You can use mood lines in virtually every element of your graphic design,” as he wrote in his blog. “Or you can contrast different mood lines in various parts of your design to create a more layered design. Take, for example, the “STABLE” mood line. You can use this in creating your layout. You can use it in your photography. And you can use it in your font selection.”

Mood lines are not necessary for the final composition—they are used to act as a guide or direction for your work. It is, in fact, possible to visibly incorporate line in your final design if you consider.

  • Scale

Scale is an extraordinary aspect of design, and it will be the element that will have an enormous impact on your audience’s perception, it is a factor of artist’s composition. When you start playing with sizes and scales of different items in the design it allows you to be the master of your art and set a focus, highlight the areas you feel are important and most importantly take your audience’s eyes through different places.

Scale and Size are two different things, and it is ubiquitous that many people unintentionally make a mistake by using them interchangeably when talking about it in design, i.e., “Please, Make the banner bigger!” Size is the factor which refers to an absolute measurement (e.g., the screen of Smartphone is 5 inch) while Scale is responsible for referring the relationship between different items in design (e.g., the square is twice as big as the circle).

A graphic designer can use a scale to give a visual hierarchy to the design. Using the principle of relativity will help you define the path you want your viewers to follow.

  • Shape

Shapes are not just for kids! A shape is an overly underrated element that performs a vital role in defining the artist’s composition.

Geometric Shapes: These are perfect shapes, with uniform proportions (e.g., circle, triangle, square, etc.).

Organic Shapes: They have less defined edges, free proportions and are not bounded by any rules (e.g., wiggly, blob-like items that don’t fall in any category).

Using both positive and negative shapes will help to highlight the importance of your work. It will make your work look more professional.

One of the most appreciated examples which illustrate the distinction of positive and the negative shapes is Rubin’s vase. This was developed in 1915 by a Danish psychologist named Edgar Rubin; the optical illusion depicts two different images when negative and positive shapes are viewed.

  • Alignment

Alignment is an invisible axis which runs between the elements and connects them either by using their edges or by centers. Consider the image above for clarification.

Usually, you would find that alignment is used in discussions regarding designs related to typography and texts, but the fact is alignment plays a significant role in balancing non-text elements as well when artists is building its designs.

Here is an example to illustrate the design in which you can see the alignment of edges and center—however; it doesn’t necessarily mean all the elements require the same composition. In the image below you can observe that all the elements are aligned concerning their edges, but are not united by the same axis.

  • Contrast

Contrast is defined as the juxtaposition of elements which differ quite sharply e.g., small v/s big, light v/s dark, etc. It is used to create a visual interest or generally to draw user’s eyes to a particular item.

Contrast is so important that without it not just your designs looks dull and lacklustre but it will also will be hard to understand. It is what creates a difference between an amateur and professional designer.

If you see the picture below, you will notice that picture to the left doesn’t have an adequate contrast between the white text and background image of a man working at a desk. It is not easy to focus on the central element, and the message isn’t easily conveyed. It certainly is a bad example. However, on the image on the right, the background is dark, and hence it creates more contrast, it is, therefore, easy to read the text in this picture.

  • Space

By the word Space here we mean none other than the void present between the elements in the design. Professional designers tend to set the looks of their designs sometimes with spaces as they feel it is better to give their design some room.

The arrangement of the elements in any design is as important as including these items and how they are presented in a group. It is common to feel that the design needs to be filled in every inch, but sometimes giving them room to breathe is a better option.

In the picture shown above, you can notice how the space and grouping of these elements give a different feeling to each composition. On the picture to the left, the uniform space gives it a sense of discipline. On the other hand in the image on the right the spaces depict a sense of confusion.

With all of the following tips, we hope you’ll be able to be more mature, and your designs look more professional.

Happy designing!