Technical Help

Graphic Design

    Circle, square, and triangle are the three basic shapes used in graphic design. Perhaps the most familiar shape to desktop publishing is the square (and rectangle). Paper is rectangular. Most text blocks are square or rectangular. While you may encounter printed projects cut into other shapes, most circles, triangles, and freeform shapes in desktop published materials are found on the page within the graphics or in the way the elements are placed on the page.

    Mass is size. There is physical size and visual size. Size can be relative. A physically small brochure can have a great deal of mass through the use of heavy text and graphic elements. A physically large brochure can appear smaller, lighter by using text and graphics sparingly.

    For desktop publishing, actual texture is the feel of the paper. Is it smooth to the touch or rough? Textures can also be visual. On the Web, especially, backgrounds that simulate familiar fabrics, stone, and other textures are common.Certain printing and finishing techniques such as thermography and embossing can add both actual and visual textures to a printed piece.

    Color is used to attract attention. It can be subtle or bold. Color can be found in the paper, the text, or the graphic elements and photos. A monochromatic color scheme uses a single color, perhaps in various tints, while other layouts utilize combinations of two, three, or more colors. Color can be used to ellicit specific emotions and reactions. Red is typically thought of as an attention-grabbing, hot color. Blues are more calming or convey stability. Some color combinations are used to create a specific identity (corporate colors, school colors) or may be used in conjunction with texture to simulate the look of other objects (the look of plain paper wrapping or neon lights, for example).

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