Designing is all about creativity, innovation and expressing your vision through your art. With such freedom of mind and ideas, you may think there isn’t any space for rules in it. However, great artistic compositions don’t just come out of nowhere. It requires powerful Composition that’s based upon some fundamental rules.
To be honest, composition is precisely what separates an amateur designer form a pro one. Captivating elements in your design alone wouldn’t be able appealing enough to the viewer. For example, if we take the design of Custom E-liquid boxes as example what makes it perfect is its Composition!-the ideal combination of shapes, colors, typography, and Graphic elements at the right places.
Therefore, the basic rules of combination are a must to be known by every designer, photographer, or any sort of illustrator. Unfortunately, many times even the most expert ones miss out on these basic rules of Composition. This prevents them from conveying the desired message from the design. By understanding, and implementing these basic rules anyone can enhance their work.
Are you a designer, a photographer or someone who loves to create eye-catching illustrations? Luckily, you are the right place as here we specifically gathered for you the ten composition rules which you must know!
Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
- What do you mean by the right Composition?
- Rule 1: Create a focal Point
- Rule 2: Visual Hierarchy
- Rule 3: Use of leading lines
- Rule 4: Balance and Layout
- Rule 5: Adapt the Art of Simplicity
- Rule 6: Use elements that go well with each other
- Rule 7: Create Consistency in your Design- Repetition
- Rule 8- Contrast- The right way
- Rule 9: The Rule of Thirds
- Rule 10: Understand the importance of Negative Space
What do you mean by the right Composition?
Compositions are the building blocks of any design, as they give it a structure and make it easier to navigate. An ideal composition has all the designing elements well-arranged, at the right places. The right combination doesn’t just align and compiles your elements, but makes them more engaging and effective. Colors that blend in, Shapes and typography that are noticeable but not overly used makes your design stand out.
Rule 1: Create a focal Point
The point where the viewer’s attention goes as soon as he gazes at your design is the focal point. Focus helps your viewer to settle their eyes naturally on important elements of the design; hence, it’s one of the key elements of Composition.
Focal point assists in conveying the central message or representing your goals and ideas to the viewers. So whether you wish to communicate, inform, or simply wish to evoke a feeling or emotion in your viewer, this is exactly where the magic is supposed to be done!
How to draw the focus? Fortunately, techniques like scale, contrast, by specifically emphasizing the subject, leading lines, and framing (all discussed below), can help you achieve the desired Composition, which will direct the eye to exactly where you want. Trust me; if you got this right, your design would work wonders!
Rule 2: Visual Hierarchy
Doubtlessly, the focal point alone wouldn’t be enough, as you must provide your viewers with a certain eye path to be followed. Quite simply, hierarchy is an arrangement in a certain way that signifies your subject. Therefore, they play a significant role in Composition. Designers and illustrators usually keep a variation in their elements, such as the difference, in contrast, color, and typography and spacing, which ultimately creates a hierarchy path. Lack of visual hierarchy gives the viewer a disorganized and complicated view, which will eventually make them lose interest in your design.
Rule 3: Use of leading lines
One of the most practical ways of grabbing the viewer’s attention toward a specific element, text, or graphic is by using certain lines and shapes. They can be either represented by the natural shape of objects (for example, a person pointing in a specific direction) or even by actual or virtual lines, but they produce a significant effect in both cases.
For instance, in the case of flowcharts, the leading line is used to represent the direction of processes as they shift the viewer’s eye from one point to the next. Not just that, but leading lines also play an essential role in setting up the visual hierarchy (eye path) of the viewer.
However, this doesn’t mean that you must add such lines in even those designs where they aren’t necessary. Some designs are good enough without any leads, hence using these unnecessary wouldn’t be worth it.
Rule 4: Balance and Layout
Designing without balance? Sorry, but this is a big NO! Balancing in your elements is extremely important in various regards, however, when it comes to Composition, it is super important! Each element in your design contains a certain weight, which is determined by certain characteristics such as shapes and sizes. Therefore, just the way physical objects need to be balanced; you must place them accordingly to achieve the desired balance in your design.
An important factor to be understood is that balancing doesn’t just mean that all your elements must be evenly spread in your design. You may go with symmetrical or asymmetrical balance, as both are perfect as long as your design looks harmonious. Asymmetrical balance is relatively more widely used by designers as compared to symmetrical, as it gives better dispersing of elements.
Rule 5: Adapt the Art of Simplicity
Being simple and classy is in trend now! Luckily, it goes the same with Composition as people don’t prefer overly composed designs. In most cases, less is more! Omitting unnecessary graphics, text and lines will definitely make your design further appealing for the audience. Overly complicated or complex Composition is something that creates a feeling of uneasiness among the viewers, which we know you wouldn’t love!
On the other hand, a simple but elegant design that contains just the essential elements in the right compositions will be a treat for the audience, and it will certainly make them think more regarding the design, Mark my words!
Rule 6: Use elements that go well with each other
This is one of the most significant rules, which often the most experienced designers also miss out on! In order to get the right Composition, all your elements, whether it is graphic design, pictures, typography, or the color or theme, it must complement each other for giving a charming look. Hence, it’s important for designers to carefully and purposefully think well before selecting an element.
One of the most common blunders in this regard is using multiple pictures that go totally against each other. The pictures in the design must complement each other, which you can simply do by using same colors, same modification or ideally pictures from the same shoot.
Rule 7: Create Consistency in your Design- Repetition
Undoubtedly, every successful Composition includes repetition of certain elements that creates a consistent and logical layout. Fortunately, there isn’t any hard and fast rule when it comes to creating a pattern, as you may repeat any graphic(such as motifs), any sort of style or color as many times as you want.
Repetition becomes incredibly significant and effective when it comes to designing multiple layouts. If you are a professional designer, you’d be well aware of how difficult it is to establish a cohesive site that flows naturally. Well, the simplest yet effective way to develop an interconnected site is by duplicating certain elements. If you look at popular posters around you, it wouldn’t be uncommon finding a specific type of stylizations, graphics, and line weights throughout it. If you use a variety of elements, with no consistency of pattern, your design will lack the logical connection with the reader.
Rule 8- Contrast- The right way
If you wish to make a specific aspect of your design to stand out; the right contrast is exactly what you need! Doubtlessly, difference or variation is something that witnessed primarily by all of us, which may be either difference in colors, texture, size or position etc.
Contrast, if done the right way can literally work magical for your design. It can hide imperfections and highlight the desired elements. A high-contrast color draws attention toward it, making that area further noticeable. On the other hand, a low contrast color deviate attention toward other appealing parts of the design. Contrast makes your design aesthetic an dynamic, and help in conveying the real message of your design. The difference between two opposite designing elements, such as dark and light theme, creates a contrast. It can also be created by type styling, use of texture, contemporary vs. old-fashioned elements, or literally any way you like.
Rule 9: The Rule of Thirds
Whether you are an amateur-level designer or a professional designer, the composition rule of thirds is something which every designer must know. This principle requires you to divide your designing frame into thirds, from vertical and horizontal lines. Every designer must be aware that the point of intersection of these lines, are vital focus points, and therefore place the elements accordingly in particular frames.
With that, it must also be comprehended that Composition doesn’t have to be divided into accurate thirds only. You may choose four or even ignore this rule. However, those designers who don’t follow this principle are most often not able to create a catchy design.
This rule of thirds allows designer to align and arrange their designing elements. The rule of the third will most probably divide your elements asymmetry, which will certainly be able to grab the viewer’s attention.
Rule 10: Understand the importance of Negative Space
The space that’s left blank is called the negative space. Although space is merely an empty space, however, it holds great significance in Composition. Often designers go over the board in designing and fill out every negative space in the design. This over-bombardment from information and graphics isn’t pleasing to the viewer, which will ultimately drive him/her away from your design. Negative spacing allows relief to the eyes of the audience while helping the primary subject to breathe and relax. Consequently, never ignore this rule at any cost!
Just like every other discipline, designing, and Composition adheres to rules and principles, which ultimately leads to a stable and appealing design. All the rules mentioned above have been proven to take Composition and designing to an absolute level. Today, all the successful designers of reputable brands design their illustrations by following this fundamental principle only.