Exercice to build your design gut

There are many facets to a designer job, and one of them that is usually the one people think of when they think of a designer job is visual design.

It takes practise and time to sharpen your design knowledges and although you can learn a few (or a lot of) visual design principles, what will give you intuition to decide what colours, which shapes in which order is training.

A great way to start somewhere is to look at other designers work and start understanding their choice and build your own view. Analyse what you feel when looking at this design and why you feel like that.

I’ve done this exercice with a couple of designs which I comment below.

Western man

I like the wave movements, they leave a smooth feeling rather than sharp and strict. They create a limit between the head and the chest of the man, which also create a frame to the subject. This frame is slightly broken by the man’s head going out of the frame. That makes the design more exiting and less conventional.

The blue colours although normally cold are soften by the choice of using gradients except for what the designer want to highlight which stands out in red and yellow.

I like that the man has no expression and no details on his face allowing us to focus on something else.

I like how the designer loaded the pattern with little repeated food drawings, leaving few blank space between each drawing to illustrate the “food saturation” subject of the image.

Elegant cat

I like the simplicity of this illustration at first and then when you dig in a bit more you realise it is actually quite complexe.

The sharp contrast between the black and white shades make this illustration very easy to catch. The choice of colours also give a real elegant look that becomes even more established with the attitude of the felin.

The smooth movement of the multiple lines makes that design pleasant to look which is also supported by the fact that the whole illustration is created by a continious « band of lines ».

Freedom speech

I like how the designer has detourned the microphone into a bird cage which perfectly illustrate the title « freedom of speech ».

The choice of colour being only two gives the feeling that the designer want to go straight to the point. The vivid colour emphasize that statement. Having more colours would have certainly distracted us.

The fact that the microphone is oriented towards us is an invitation to speak.

I’m not sure how I feel about the actual yellow however I think that if the designer would have used another hue, it could have a dramatic feel like red for example.

The font use dis a san serif giving a modern twist to the vintage look of the illustration. The subtitle which is a quote is thiner and feels more delicate.

The italic gives some movement and bring to live the quoted text.