Learning Activity – Principles of Layout, Form and Space, Symmetry/Asymetry, Pace & Contrast

Learning Activities

Form and Space :

  • Rearrange shapes cut out of paper, and try to find the point at which the figure disappears into the ground.
    • Cut out a series of shapes from black paper – squares, rectangles, circles and random shapes – in a variety of sizes, from small to large.
    • Working with a square piece of white paper, place shapes of different sizes into the white space; place them on the white one at a time and move them around.
    • Try to find the point where the distinction between figure and ground becomes unclear. Does it depend on which shape dominates the space: black or white? Is it about the position of the shape within the space? Think about how important figure-ground relationships are within composition and design.
  • Write down your findings, and remember to take pictures of your progress.

Symmetry/asymmetry :

In this assignment, you will be given the opportunity to also test your idea sketching skills. It is important to start working with basic ideas on paper and develop your concept from there on out.

  1. On an A4 landscape page, draw four equal squares. Create 4 more pages in this way. So, you’ll have 5 pages with four squares on each.
  2. Draw one or two squares or rectangles in each empty square to achieve the following visual effects (refer to your textbook, p.41 as guidance). You can work with the interaction of rectangles and squares to make the balance or imbalance more evident.
    • Entering left
    • Movement to the right
    • Movement to the left
    • Movement downwards
    • Movement upwards
    • Balance
    • Tension
    • Symmetry/asymmetry

    Produce at least two different versions of each effect, recording your results each time. Explain in one or two sentences what you wanted to achieve (as shown in your manual)

  3. Write down your findings

Basic Principles of Layout :

Take a magazine, newspaper or book that includes images and text. Lay tracing paper over the top of three spreads (both left-hand and right-hand pages). Using a pencil and ruler, carefully trace the grid underlying the page layouts. Remember to remove specific text elements or images, and to only draw the grid lines. Note column widths and margin sizes at the top, bottom, and to the left and right of the main body of text. Is your document based on a two-column, three-column, or another type of grid? Which elements stay the same on each page, and which change?

Pace and Contrast :

Compare the design (in terms of pace and contrast) of an online magazine, blog or website to that of a printed magazine, book or journal.

  1. What differences can you see between the kinds of design strategies used in the two formats?
  2. Write down your findings
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