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Composition Matters

As a designer, I often see crafters who cut their SVGs and place them on their project without referring to the original photo that is included with the design. Graphic designers are trained in typography and layout. We take the time to ensure that the design is using at least 50% but no more than 75% of the available space.  This allows the eye to freely move and absorb the content of the artwork.

Why does composition matter so much?

  • Composition makes everything easier to navigate through the constant consideration of all the elements in the layout and throughout the design process of any given project.  It’s not just your choice of a font.
  • Composition balances the information with stability and with careful consideration. The elements of design should be taken seriously. Once you understand them, it’s worth thinking about them as guidelines for your creativity.
  • Composition is the first, last, and most important part of your design. It is the broadest and most difficult principle to explain because it encompasses EVERYTHING.
  • Composition uses the Rule of Thirds to pull it all together.  By dividing your composition into thirds vertically and horizontally; where the lines meet should be your focal points. By avoiding symmetry, you add motion and interest. Many artists and designers try to achieve balance in their designs. Balance can be achieved by including dark objects in opposite corners or side of the design. Try this without making it symmetrical; you want to achieve balanced asymmetry.

At some point, I want to walk you through my design process. Part of it is using my imagination, closing my eyes and trying to see it on an object. Yes, I study in my head. But, before I give myself an opportunity to over-think anything, I begin building the blocks of hierarchy. I generally make some quick sketches and through the process I get some rough ideas of what needs to be in the design, and a concept of how I might want to put it all together. These are very fast and very rough sketches. They’re just enough to help me understand where all the elements go, and how they work together. This gives me an opportunity work with contrast issues. Once I get to the computer, I try not to center my focal point, and I just move pieces around until they look good. I’m using my intuition.

There are certain elements of composition that are more important than others, in the sense that you run into them frequently, regardless of your project. Such as; limit your use of colors and fonts, use contrast and spacing to suggest visual hierarchy and think things through by keeping in mind the following:

WHITE SPACE (negative space) – is just as important as the positive space. Do not overcrowd the layout, your eye needs to rest and move on again.

ALIGNMENT – Like an invisible grid use equal spacing, centering, and aligning of objects or text. It is important to make sure your composition does not fall apart. Alignment and spacing makes the layout easier to navigate.

CONTRAST – Visual hierarchy is established by using color, size, and shape, leading the viewer to where they need to begin and where to go next.

CHAOS – Color palette and text style should be used consistently throughout the design. While too many colors and font styles begin to look disorganized and confusing.

Here are my final thoughts, graphic design is not simply “art;” and designers are often asked to do things that goes against what we have learned and know in our hearts to be true of great layouts. Composition matters and the layout serves a very specific function. It is our job to not only provide excellent design, but to influence others of the reasons why we chose the color and composition. The client or market determines the purpose of the design. Then it’s our job to design accordingly.

I love what I do. I have found a community and great friends to share with. I have testers that I am grateful for. They cut my files at a moment’s notice so I can get my product to market ASAP. Identifying and understanding my target market assists me in the process, but it is hard to not have stereotypical assumptions about the demographics of my Facebook group. Facebook is a global community, yet often I focus on the US because that is where most of my customers are. I would love your feedback if you are reading this from another country. What am I missing? what would you like to see more of? Be specific and share your thoughts.

It’s a constant challenge to teach others about principles of design and good practices. Why should they spend a couple dollars to support me and my efforts?  My training, skill, and expertise are worth it! Creating layouts that are appealing on many levels and great customer service are my specialties. I accept the risk of discouragement or theft when my designs are stolen or traced.  Yes, it is challenging because composition matters, but I wouldn’t trade any of it.  I love SVGs and Fun With SVGs is my jam!

Here is another great article on using white space.

Did you see my article on Font Pairings? FREE downloadable PDF cheat sheet.

Coming soon using color and color theory.