Owen gives quick but detailed overview of the Principles of Design (aka CRAP -Contrast, Repetition, Alignment, Proximity) as well as how they work together to create ideas such as Hierarchy, Repetition & Change, Balance, and more.
- [Narrator] When you're designing, you should always aim for one specific goal in that design of yours, and that's CRAP. You want CRAP, you want it so bad, you don't even know how bad you want CRAP in your design. Trust me, CRAP design is where it's at, no joke. Of course, I'm talking about the principles of design when I talk about CRAP, which are Contrast, Repetition, Alignment, and Proximity. Let's start with Contrast.
Unique elements in your design and animation should stand apart from one another. You do this by using contrast, whether you contrast their color, their size, their shape, or whatever, you are using contrast to make your design and animation more unique, and include various imagery to make it more compelling. Contrast can create something called hierarchy in your imagery, making certain imagery or text stand out from the rest, giving it greater importance, and drawing the viewer's eyes to it while telling them, hey, viewer of my stuff, look at this.
It's different, it contrasts, it must have some sort of significance, some sort of importance, look at it. Yeah, that's contrast and hierarchy. Now, let's talk about Repetition. Repetition adds cohesiveness to a design. If we use a specific texture in the first frame or scene of an animation, repeating that texture throughout the rest of it makes it feel cohesive and gives it kind of a unified whole. It's really good stuff. Adding repeating elements onscreen can create a pattern in your animation and design. This gives a safe and structured feel, but if you suddenly add a little contrast to this repetition, you get a little something referred to as repetition and change.
This will immediately draw the viewer's eye to that element. Yes, contrast and repetition work together. I guess that means other principles of design work together too, perhaps. Well, truth be told, they all do. When it comes to Alignment, we are looking at how different elements line up together, giving a sense of visual connection to each other. Alignment gives a sense of cohesiveness in design. Things feel safe, in place, of a single group, in relation to each other, when alignment is used properly.
If we add a little contrast to that alignment, we add a touch of that repetition and change, and a little touch of that hierarchy as well. Man, these principles of design all seem to overlap so darn much. Something that seems to go really well with alignment would be the principle of Proximity. Proximity has to do with the amount of space between elements, basically how close or far they are from each other. Adding a little extra random space between elements can make them go from being safe, structured, and planned out to, oh my gosh, chaotic and uncontrolled.
And we're just talking a dabble of space between, not that much. Proximity can make a huge difference in how we interpret a visual. Two characters close together look like they might be friends, or teammates, or in a very deep love. Two characters far apart might look like they're ignoring, shunning, or dislike each other. And that's the difference a touch of proximity makes. Now, alignment and proximity work together really well to create a little something called balance. People seem to like to talk about visuals being balanced or unbalanced, but the truth is, there really isn't such a thing as unbalanced visuals.
There are just symmetrically balanced and asymmetrically balanced designs. Symmetrical design has similar elements on at least two sides along a common axis. Sometimes it looks as if you could fold the page in half and it would be the same on either side, pretty much mirrored. It comes off as stable, but a little less active. Symmetrical design utilizes repetition, along with alignment and proximity, to create this stable feeling. Now, asymmetrical design will use contrasting elements to create a sort of balance of its own.
One side might be cluttered with text while the other side has almost no text at all. This doesn't make it unbalanced, it just makes the text balanced by space. It gives a more active feeling, tends to add a feeling of anxiety or stress or importance to a small bit of the image. Asymmetrical design utilizes contrast along with alignment and proximity to create its active feeling. So in the end, think about how you're creating CRAP design, Contrast, Repetition, Alignment, and Proximity, and how you're incorporating that CRAP into your animation.
How are your elements onscreen incorporating proximity? What's the space between them, and what does that mean? How can you use repetition and change in the actions of your elements? How are you balancing elements onscreen, symmetrically or asymmetrically? How are you animating contrast to get an idea across, or adding hierarchy to your visual elements? Yes, design with CRAP, but always animate with CRAP as well.
- Focusing on contrast, repetition, alignment, and proximity
- Creating vector graphics with the Shapes & Masks script
- Aligning with the Align3D script
- Developing color palettes with Adobe Color Themes and Swatcher Script
- Randomizing colors with Randomatic
- Saving custom fonts with the Font Styles Library plugin
- Animating text with TextEvo
- Texturing quickly with Ray Dynamic Texture
- Customizing font files with FontForge
- Creating infographics