Part I:
Elements of Design

• The purpose of design
• Form and Balance
• Creating Contrast
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  • There are no absolute laws of perfect proportion, but the Greeks tried: The Golden Section or Mean.

  • Most design is not based on any mathematical system, but with a trained eye, an open mind, and an innate sense of form and organization

Symmetry: The Classic Ideal

  • Defined: Symmetry in design requires a central axis with equal balance or weight on each side — not neccesarily a perfect mirror image.

  • Based on the sensibility of ancient and medieval architecture and manuscripts, symmetry remains a popular choice for layout.

Asymmetry: The Asian Influence

  • Near the end of the last century, many artists in the West were struck by the beauty and elegance of the newly discovered Japanese design sensibility. Asian traditions were built on asymmetry.

  • The trick for designers is to create a sense of balance without relying on the even distribution of weight found in symmetry.

  • It's like walking a tightrope: the threat of
    falling is what makes assymetry more exciting than symmetry

  • Look for a "sense of stability, the right and wrong way to do anything, the amount of air that enables the work to breathe, the most satisfactory way of combining elements..."

Japanese tatami mats

A Tolmer, "Mise En Page:
The theory and practice
of Layout," 1928.

next: Creating Contrast