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week 2 discussion color and design principles must include citations

Week 2 Discussion – Color and Design Principles

Learning Objectives Covered

  1. Discuss the role color plays in the big four design principles (contrast, repetition, alignment, and proximity)


PosterOnWall.jpgEvery visual composition involves a foreground-background relationship. The relationship between the foreground, or subject, and the area that surrounds it is extraordinarily important. Contrast, one of the four big principles of design, dictates whether the foreground/background relationship is working well or failing. If there is enough contrast between the color of typography and the background it is placed upon, we can read it. If they are too similar in shade or hue, reading can be difficult. Too much contrast, ie: complementary colors, can also create issues. For example, red type on a green background tends to vibrate, making the text difficult to read.

Contrast can be defined in many ways, but primarily means change or difference. As described above, it can create the relationship between foreground and background. Color contrast is also one of the primary ways graphic designers create focal points. Too much color contrast (ie: too many different colors within a layout) leads to confusion, while too few color contrasts create a flat design with no focal points.

In order to create color contrasts, a second design principle, repetition, must be in place. Repetition in color ensures unity within a design – but can be boring. Pairing repetitive use of color with a few color contrasts is the key to creating a successful layout.

TIP: Squint at the poster design you chose. Low-contrast palette has the same tonal range when you squint at it, while a high contrast palette will range from very dark to very light. Squinting allows you to look at tonal aspects of a design without seeing the design elements themselves and is a useful tool for discerning when contrast is needed or overdone. For example, if you squint at the photo at the top of the page you will find it is predominantly low contrast and monochromatic. The eye is drawn to the framed type on the page by the stark contrast of pure black on white as compared to the grey surrounding. There is a contrast in the texture of the bricks to the smoothness of the framed type as well. Repetition is used in the brick shape, creating a background for the picture. The tonal range of the other elements of the photo are also very similar, which is repetition at work. The photographer is using the red cup as a secondary focal point by creating a contrast in color.


Visit the site (Links to an external site.). Be sure to scroll down – there are 60 wonderful examples here.

For your initial post:

  • CHOOSE ONE poster design from the site.
  • Take a screenshot of it and embed it into your initial discussion post.
  • Describe how color contrast and repetition was or was not used to create impact. What mood was created by the color choices? How would different choices have affected the overall design?

For your citation, you might use articles that describe the big four design principles; contrast, repetition, alignment, and proximity, related to colors or the emotions generated from specific color schemes.

When looking at your fellow student’s discussion posts, you might discuss how all four design principles were implemented to create a successful design. In addition to contrast and repetition, consider where you see alignment and proximity used. What was their impact on the overall success or failure of the design? If you were to change the design in any way, what would you change and why? Support your answer with the design principle that it relates to.

Your initial and reply posts should work to develop a group understanding of this topic. Challenge each other. Build on each other. Always be respectful but discuss this and figure it out together.

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