Interest and Variation
Just as a work needs to feel like it is one piece, every part of it should not be identical. Thats boring. No one will give it a second look.
- Variation creates interest. Each repeating element should be slightly different from the other unless the concept is uniformity.
- Size (Big, medium, small) – Repeating an element by varying size
- Value (Dark, medium, light) – Repeating an element by varying value
- Foreground, middle ground, and background – Most naturalistic composition uses two or more of these elements to create depth and to add interest. The focal point is usually in the foreground or the middle ground. Aerial perspective and linear perspective are commonly used to push the background further away by blurring, desaturation, and loss of detail.
- Contrast – Contrast is the juxtaposition of opposing elements. It may be bright against dull or large against small. It could be loud just after quiet or rough next to smooth. It may be a foil such as a sweet old grandma talking to a sleazy used car salesman.
- Contrast can occur in a variety of ways:
- Line versus mass
- Symmetry versus asymmetry
- Ornamental versus simple
- Representational versus nonobjective
- Premeditated versus spontaneous
- Deliberate versus chance
- Ordered versus random
- Cerebral versus emotional
- Duplicated versus varied
- Cohesion versus disparity
- Clarity versus ambiguity
- Open versus closed (Krasner, 2008)
- Simultaneous Contrast occurs when two colors (or other elements) are placed next to each other and cause the other to appear different than if it were sitting alone. For example, placing a darker color next to a medium color makes the medium color appear lighter.
- Spacing includes white space or negative space, leading, and tracking. Space helps to make a composition (and this includes words in a paragraph) more readable and inviting. It also helps set the rhythm and pace. More space means more calm. Less space means more energy, action, and contention.
But Unity with Variation is only part of the puzzle. There still needs to be order, a logical path to move thru a composition. Thats where Hierarchy comes into play.
- Krasner, Jon. Motion Graphic Design: Applied History and Aesthetics. Focal Press, 02/2008.
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