‘Hierarchy’ Design principle of Graphic Design Ep10/45 [Beginners guide to Graphic Design]

Hello and welcome to this beginner’s
guide series to graphic design. From what graphic design is, skills to be a graphic designer, design theory, education you need, equipment you need, to the graphic design portfolio and interview advice. This series is for anyone at any level. So if you’re interested in graphic design and considering becoming a graphic designer. join me as I discuss a series of graphic design topics. Graphic design is not simply about
making things look good. In graphic design there are principles of design that can be considered. These principles are what typically separate good design from bad design. These principles all have a relationship between each other and
appear in every well designed piece of work you see. A good grasp of design theory will mean there is always substance behind your work. The key principles of design are: Contrast, hierarchy, alignment, balance, proximity, repetition, simplicity and function. What ever work you produce be it for a magazine, a poster a website or advertisement, these principles of design should be considered. A good designer keeps these principles and guidelines in their toolkit and will consciously use
them to develop their ideas. In this video I’m going to discuss the second key design principle and discuss hierarchy as a design principle in graphic design. In this video I’ll be referring to some visual examples. If you wish to take a closer look at these you can find them in the downloadable PDF
document that accompanies this series link is in the description. So hierarchy is the control of visual
information in an arrangement or presentation to imply importance. Hierarchy influences the order in which the human eye perceives what it sees. In design we use hierarchy to: Add structure, create visual organisation,
create direction, add emphasis and help a viewer navigate
and digest information easily. Hierarchy is typically created by contrast
between visual elements in a composition. Typically visual elements with
highest contrast are noticed first. Using hierarchy we can control how a viewer
engages with information to ensure that information is navigated and digested in
the way it is intended. For example where we want the eye to look first,
where we want the eye to look second, and where we want the eye to look third and so on… Establishing clear visual hierarchy
is important because it holds the design together.
Used effectively hierarchy can make a complex message simple. In design hierarchy can
manifest itself in many visual ways. It’s through the careful consideration and
arrangement of visual elements that create a clear hierarchy. Hierarchy can
manifest itself in many visual ways such as in scale. colour, contrast, space,
alignment, shape and form. So looking at the PDF here are some basic hierarchy
design principles. So the first example is hierarchy in scale. Here we have some stroke lines going from thick to thin from top to bottom in eight steps.
The hierarchy of scale in these eight steps also suggests direction of hierarchy the
flow of importance here starts from the top and troubles down from thick to thin.
Now the next example challenges this perception. Here we have the exact same
comp but this time the colour has changed. In this example the thinnest stroke is
the darkest colour and the thicker stroke
is the lightest colour. Even though the strokes are larger above the thin
stroke is perceived as bolder and stronger because it’s more apparent and appears
closer, more in focus. by changing the colours we have
changed the hierarchy structure. Now it could be said that the
hierarchy now travels from bottom to top from thin to thick because the darkest
colour attracts the eye first. So this next example demonstrates hierarchy again in
scale but also in contrast. Here we see a grid of circles with a single small one by contrast in scale and
number this suggests that the larger circles carry more important than the smaller one Now if we modify the colour this creates
a new dynamic and shifts the hierarchy. The smaller circle is now darker.
By contrast the smaller circle is now more prominent. So in the next example we see
hierarchy in colour again the shapes on the inside are darker than those of
outside so we perceive them as more prominent tho if we change the space of these shapes. Through overlapping we now create a new hierarchy. Hierarchy here is no longer determined by colour. the shapes that are on top appear closer to us,
are the shapes we see most clearly which are perceived to be the most prominent.
Hierarchy is now defined by space. In the next example we have the same shapes in various colors but this time the shapes are in various sizes with various blur
effects applied. This creates an illustration of depth
unlike with space in the previous example it’s not necessarily about the shapes that appear closer to us here, but the shapes that appear the most clear to us. So the shapes that are the most in
focus do a better job of attracting the eye thus become the most prominent. In this example hierarchy is defined by depth and focus. So in this last example colour and alignment
of shapes is suggesting perspective and movement. Here we perceive the shapes coming closer to us. The flow of hierarchy here starts from
the perceived front and moves towards the back into the distance.
So those are some simple principles of hierarchy Now in design depending on the simplicity
or complexity of the intended message hierarchy in design can exist in multiple forms and compete against each
other at the same time. If we take a look at the next page in the PDF here I have
some common practical design instances where hierarchy plays a role. So for this
first example I have a simple index page here we have a lot of information but through the consideration of alignment
and space each subsection from the top down takes a step to the right and there
is adequate space separating the individual parts. The header and sub
header is a different and bolder typeface to the body copy highlighting
important breakpoints. This all works well together to create a clear and
comprehensive list easy to navigate. Hierarchy exists here through contrast
in alignment, space, colour and type face. So next is an example of a simple type
layout and some of the common settings that are applied to distinguish hierarchy.
Here we have a mixture of type alignment typeface, type size, type weight
and colour. Next is a more complex example of hierarchy. For this example I have a letterhead.
Now letterheads can come in various designs but they typically
follow the same pattern. Here hierarchy is working in composition as well as
typesetting. Letterheads will almost always lead with a brand the logo is
here in the top left looking pretty prominent. To the right of this is the address details
of the company in this instance aligned to the right which contrasts nicely with the main message So the top of the letterhead is pretty
prominent here and communicates the important info about the company details.
Below is where the main message is placed notice the margin here is quite large this leaves for some nice negative space
down the left side which creates a nice clean design which also gives
prominence to the logo. Below this we have the details of who the messages is
from and below this we have a footer with some require detail. We have a small
horizontal stroke to partition this away from the message and the type size is
smaller not to clash with the main message and finally below this we have part of the
brand motif as simple blocks of colour So for a simple letterhead that is quite a lot going on here but through careful consideration of the visual elements the order of importance
is nice and clear. So next is an example of a simple infographic. Here hierarchy is working in two parts it’s working in the illustration and in
the overall composition. First the graphic above clearly illustrates a
timeline or tree diagram. We see the diagram starts from the base,
in this instance the flow of information starts from the bottom to the top from dark to
light distinguishing the various branches. Placed below this is a simple
list which is a reference to the visual above. So overall the illustration is the most dominant visual element here supported by the reference below. So next is an example of where hierarchy starts to push the boundaries in more creative layouts. First we have an index page.
Here hierarchy exists in many forms overall as small as the white type is compared
to the title it still exerts more prominence due to the contrast in colour.
Here type is not treated as individual elements but as one rigid column cutting
through the loosely scattered title below. Within the column itself we have a
number of types sizes and weights which creates contrast to distinguish order,
the title is left as a playful decorative piece in a darker tone allowing
the column type to come to the front Next we have a simple layout that could
easily be a magazine article. The composition immediately draws your
attention to the large playful type layout, the article title wrapped around the body copy Next we have a sub header and the body
copy below. Contrast is created between the sub header and the body copy by two
different typefaces and sizes and also by the right alignment of the sub header
and the left alignment of the body copy. Below this we have a small horizontal
stroke signifying the end of the article and signing off with the name of the
person who wrote the article. So the next example is where hierarchy starts to get
really complex. Here I have an example of a typical magazine cover and a newspaper
cover this media is common for communicating a lot of information in one instance. hierarchy typically establishes itself on magazine covers through overlapping space and size generally a magazine cover will revolve
around one single main point of focus. In this example we can see the image of the woman in the photograph is on top of the magazine title then the header of the article which the
photograph supports is on top of the photo. So the three main important parts to this composition is: Big title, person in photo then magazine title. Then we have some hints of
what else is in the magazine via sub headers around the
figure in the picture. We have a call out here in a circle, which compared
to the other sub headers does draw your attention more This suggests the magazine sees this
article as something people want to read perhaps to draw attention to buy the magazine. Some more prominence has been given to this article title here. For decoration and dynamics the other titles
have been applied in various typefaces but don’t typically compete too much with each other. Next is the newspaper example. Now unlike the magazine cover that will revolve
around one single main point of focus the newspaper will want to shout about
multiple headlines at once. Hierarchy typically establishes itself
on newspaper covers through contrast in scale. Typically on newspaper covers the most
prominent article will exert the most space on the page where less prominent articles will sit next to or around it in this example we see the main
prominent article taking up most of the space, big photo and big typeface the
smaller articles are sitting around it. So that is the second key design
principle in graphic design. When you look at design ask yourself how has
hierarchy be considered? Is there a sense of hierarchy? What visual mechanisms have been used to create it? and how well does it work as part of the design? Well I hope you enjoyed this video,
if you did hit the like button on my facebook page If you’d like to see more videos like this in future hit the subscribe button and you can also follow me on twitter at TastyTuts So the next key design principle is alignment. In the next video I’m going to talk about
alignment as a design principle in graphic design. So see you in the next video!

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