Elements of Design

Here is the quick list of the fundamental principles and elements of design.


  1. Point
  2. Line
  3. Shape
  4. Forms
  5. Space
  6. Color
  7. Texture
  8. Text (An added one Graphic Designers use that never show up in the “traditional” list)


  1. Balance
  2. Proportion
  3. Perspective
  4. Emphasis
  5. Movement
  6. Pattern
  7. Repetition
  8. Rhythm
  9. Harmony
  10. Unity

As you become more familiar in making the software do what you want it to do, these elements and principles will guide and inform your work to make it structurally sound and aesthetically pleasing. Every drawing, painting, print, poster and brochure utilizes these fundamental elements and principles. Learn and use them with purpose and intent in your designs and artwork. These elements and principles are simple and straight-forward to use – they are utilized and necessary in any media, traditional or digital and will take years of experience to master.



New Assignment: Putting it all together

So you new assignment, and probably the one you will work on until the end of the semester is…

You are going to tell a story. Make one up or re-imagine an old story. Something simple though. Maybe a fairy tale, or a nursery rhyme. Pick your poison.


  • 12 page “booklet” design, four-color, full-bleed, saddle-stitched. The story happens in 8 to 10 pages
  • 12 page storybook website: retask your print design into a website – 12 pages (hyperlinks, yeah)
  • 30 second animation (Adobe Animate or Photoshop Cell-frame)

You can use Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop to create the assets to correspond with your text in the story. You must include a photograph of yourself as the designer, illustrator and/or author.


  • April 19: Story determined with rough storyboard or a rough “dummy” of the booklet (roughly sketched out ideas of the imagery needed in the story)
  • April 28: Mid-assignment critique: all components
  • May 5: Booklet and Website due
  • May 8 (Final): Animation due – we’ll watch them in class.

This is a big assignment, but you have developed the skills this semester to pull it off… if you keep it simple, focus on the story and if you utilize design (Big D design and little d Design) to solve the problems. We have roughly four weeks to accomplish these three devices (print, web and animation).

You should have questions tomorrow about this assignment.

html coding

Hi guys, sorry I didn’t get this posted yesterday. This week… be reading and coding chapter 4 (Creating a simple page) and chapter 5 (Marking up text). Feel free to work ahead of my weekly chapter schedule if you have done and know this stuff already or if it is easy and making sense. Again, take notes on what you have read and use them as the means to apply the coding to a webpage. You will remember all this information if you write it down or key it in somewhere. Remember, use a simple text editor to do this, not an html editor yet. There are no shortcuts with a simple text editor and you will have to actually learn the html tags doing it this way.

I will be assigning some more in InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop in the next couple of class periods.


Printing specs and mounting info

For the Photoshop Day Map assignment: print to a 13 x 19 sheet of paper. Flush mount. Maximum print area on a non-bleed 13 x 19 print is 12.75 x 18.625.

For the Currency Or WWI poster rebuild: print to a 13 x 19 sheet of paper too. Again, Maximum print area is 12.75 x 18.625. At least one dimension of your design should be at the maximum allowable print area. Does this make sense?

Do not print with crop marks this time. Brownie points if someone blogs the reason why on their blog.

Print outs for both are Due March 8 – mounted and ready for presentation. Make sure you have and use the appropriate tools and supplies, so the final presentation looks professionally done. PRACTICE BEFORE COMMITTING TO THE FINAL PRESENTATION.

Typesetting Rules of Thumb

I just uploaded to the ART201 DSP Google Drive folder an .rft file on Typesetting Rules of Thumb. These are some fundamental guidelines for working type and typesetting. Look them over and if you have any questions about them, ask on Friday. Here is a controversial one… there is only one space after periods. How many of you add two spaces?


.ps to .pdf

In the near future you may encounter problems submitting your print job to the inkjet printer in OP1250 (OP Output) The problem typically is due to the file size of the pdf you are making. The .pdf is too large (larger than 48 MB in size). Yes, Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator have the “Save As” to .pdf option and InDesign has the “Export” option, but these paths to a .pdf do not by default compress the file size of the .pdf. You need to adjust the .pdf presets as you “Save As” (a pdf dialog box should pop up) in Photoshop and Illustrator and/or click on the “Adobe PDF Presets prior to “Export” and adjust the presets to lower the file size. In the dialog box, select the “Smallest File Size” present, then click on the “Compression” option in the left column of the dialog box. Resize from 100 ppi to 150 ppi in the Color and Grayscale Images options then click “Save” or “Export”

The best process for creating a small file size pdf is to “Print” to a .ps (Postscript) file and use Acrobat Distiller, distill the .ps file to a .pdf – using the “Standard” preset. This process will typically take a 60 to 80 MB .psd file and creates a 1.2 to 1.8 MB .pdf. I will go over this again in class tomorrow. Print the job and in the Print dialog box, select Postscript Printer instead of an actual printer and make sure you select the Acrobat 9 PPD (Postscript Page Description). Walk through all the options and choose the appropriate settings as you normally would do if printing to an actual printer. When you click the print button, the software will “print” the data to a file (make sure you know where you are sending the .ps file). Drag and drop the .ps file into Acrobat Distiller and it will crunch your. ps file and make you a .pdf. Now you now have the most reliable .pdf you can make.

Too bad this process is no longer supported by Adobe or Apple. We had to hack the computers and set them up to do this. If you want to be able to do this on your own Mac, see me. I can show you how.