Layout, color, and typography are the key components of design. Learn how each plays an important role in design
- The core elements that make up every design are layout, color, and typography. To be a good designer, you have to have a deep understanding of how each of these elements contributes to the overall message. It's like cooking. You need to know your ingredients, and what they go well with before you can combine them successfully. Layout is extremely important, because it's a structure for the skeleton of the piece, and therefore drives the overall design. Layouts can be peaceful and serene, dynamic and exciting, or even chaotic.
The right mood for the work just depends on the audience and the goal of the piece. Almost anything goes in the right context, with one exception, the design that feels dull or lifeless. This is all determined by your choices of color, balance, scale, and density of type and image. These are the elements of design that when used correctly will enable you to set the right tone and create a strong composition. The role of type in design is so much more than just communicating the meaning of the words.
Good typography is legible, it's beautiful, and it's treated to communicate the message of the design. It should be tailored to the intended audience, through the chosen typeface, and how it's set. For example, the goal of typography on an income tax return form is legibility. There is no room for creative expression here. Conversely, the typeface on a poster for an art exhibit can ignore the traditional rules of layout, and in some cases, the type itself becomes the artwork.
Typography is a little complex, but the good news is that once you know the rules, you'll know when you can push the boundaries a bit, and you'll be able to set beautiful type like a pro. Color is a powerful element, and it plays an important role in every design, both visually and emotionally. Color can act as a navigational aid, telling an audience what the most important elements are, or which items in a design are connected. Because of the cultural connotations associated with color, it also plays a huge role in helping to communicate a message.
Think of these three elements, layout, type, and color, as your building blocks of design. With a solid understanding of how to harness their power, you'll be well on your way to creating beautiful designs that your viewers will connect with.