Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Principles and Elements of Design

Basic design considerations...

"In the last three articles, we discussed the fundamental concepts of design. We started with the principles of design—the underlying tenets of the profession dealing with the arrangement of objects in a composition. Next, we looked at the elements of design—the objects used to create the composition itself. Finally we looked at the medium of the Web, and at some of the constraints inherent in such an environment that could alter the way we use the principles or elements of design. Taken together, the topics covered thus far form the basis of any design education. And they can help any designer, whether a novice or professional, advance in their profession.

Bridging the Gap
So far we have looked at the fundamentals of design in a rather abstract way, discussing and illustrating the concepts using simple shapes and forms. This is an excellent way to introduce the principles and elements of design, but does not bridge the gap between theory and practice. In this article we will be reviewing many of the topics previously covered, but we will be doing so using actual Web sites so that we can see how everything we have been talking about fits together.

The “Manhattan Edition” illustrates how textual objects can take on a more abstract, textured element in a design. The font chosen works well with the other textures on the page, and has a sense of rhythm unto itself that complements the overall design.
After much consideration, I chose to take all of the Web site examples used in this article from the CSS Zen Garden, created and managed by Dave Shea. I did this for a number of reasons. First, I want the focus to be on layout and design. The Zen Garden does this wonderfully by allowing graphic designers to alter a pre-existing page of content and navigation. This allows us to focus on the design and not be distracted by other concepts that, while equally important from a Web perspective, are not the focus of this review. Second, the Zen Garden is an experiment in the use of CSS for design on the Web, and inherently addresses many of the topics covered in the third article of the Design in Theory and Practice column."   continued ...   (Via Digital-Web)


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