CalArts: Funds. of Graphic Design-W4: 4.0 Introduction to Composition

So far in this course, we’ve broken design down into smaller parts in order to investigate and experience it. To make it understandable and to learn about it.

Now we’re going to think about how to put some of those component pieces back together again.

And we’re going to use composition to do that.

Historically, composition was at the core of the designer’s role.

An ad agency might have come up with the concept, 
a photographer have taken the photo. 
An illustrator made the image, 
a typesetter laid out the type, 
and a copywriter written the text.

So, what did the designer do?

Well, the designer arranged everything on the page.

It seems like a small thing, but you can make many designs, both good and bad, with the same elements.

The arrangement can dramatically affect the visual appeal of the piece of design.

It can also make or break the message that the designer is trying to communicate.

Think of it like a room full of furniture.

How you arrange the room can dramatically affect your experience of the room.

How it feels, how it looks, what it tells you about who lives in the room.

And it can be the same pieces of furniture.

And it can make you feel like the room is very organized. 
Or very messy, spatially comfortable, 
or really annoying and awkward to be in.

Composition can make design be direct, logical, and functional. But composition can also make design feel more complex, engaging, and dense.

It can be the difference between success and failure of a piece of design.

This week, we’ll look at the basic principles of composition.

How to create and control visual contrast. We’ll examine and understand how more complex hierarchical relationships work.

Finally, we’ll be looking at how to create a more complex piece of design. And we’ll be using your knowledge from all the previous weeks in the course.