weekly[3] & exercise[2]

lim jia sheng,

.Design Principles
::weekly[3] & exercise[2]

lecture[1]: Emphasis & Balance

In this recorded lecture, we were taught about the duo — Emphasis & Balance — as well as a few composition techniques — Rule of Thirds & Golden Ratio.


Creates dominance & focus via the use of colour, shape, or value. Can be referred as the design subject that's the """Loudest""".


Created movement draws the viewer's eyes into a design subject that's emphasized.


Shapes that break up a pattern, or ones that create hierarchy, point towards an emphasized design subject.


Perceived depth — design subjects that are closer — are emphasized.


Contrasting saturations pop out and emphasize their design subject.

(Tonal) Value/Luma

Contrasting luminance uses the same compositional techniques too, to emphasize.


Mainly emphasizes through the use of movement.


Well this is pretty self explanatory. Any design subject will break the pattern of """nothing"""

Figure 1.1.1, My favourite shown example for the use of space to emphasize, 9/4/2021



Balance occurs when the distribution of visual weight, reaches a state of visual equilibrium. It can be symmetrical or asymmetrical.

      • If Balanced around a fulcrum, then it is radially balanced.
      • If Balanced on an axis, then it is bilaterally balanced.

Symmetrical Balance

Uses equal/Similar transformed/mirrored design subjects along a fulcrum/axis. If the design subjects are Similar, then it is Approximate Symmetry.

Asymmetrical Balance

Uses different design subjects, placed in ways that distribute their visual weight equally around a fulcrum/axis. (eg. big object centred at 2/3 of the frame and small object centred at 1/3 of the frame)


Golden Ratio

    • Also known as "phi" — 1.618033988769895...
    • Used as a guide for composition/visual balance.
    • Is perceived as the representation of """perfect beauty""", and is found among nature.
    • Can bring Harmony, Balance, & Structure, to a design piece.

Figure 1.1.2, Use of Golden Ratio in UI, 9/4/2021

Rule of Thirds

    • Split a frame into three quadrants in both X & Y axes, then placing design subjects at the lines, or their intersections.
    • Is a simplification of the Golden Ratio.
    • Used as a guide for composition/visual balance.
    • Can bring dynamism, to a design piece.


    lecture[2]: Emphasis & Balance++

    Emphasis vs Contrast


        • Is an artifact of composition among all layers.


        • Is caused by the design subject itself against the different layers.


    Figure 1.2.1, Example of Symmetrical Balance, 14/4/2021

    Figure 1.2.2, Example of Asymmetrical(/Approximate Symmetrical) Balance 14/4/2021

    Ideation for Emphasis & Balance

    Hatching was noted to be a good way to start. We could also defy society by using curved lines instead of straight ones (shocking!!). This would be a great tactic if one would use pens for the exercise, but maybe not really for other media.

    Figure 1.2.3, Examples of curved hatching, n.d

     Other than that, another suggestion was... music? I guess it's jazz time or something.


    We were first brought through on how to construct "golden rectangles" in Illustrator. By doing it this way, the fractal aspect of it is brought out as well.

    Figure 2.1.1, Golden rectangles in Illustrator, 14/4/2021

    Then, it was rule of thirds time. It was going to be super useful for composition, and is more widely used in photography & videography.

    Figure 2.1.2, Rule of thirds on a DSLR, 14/4/2021

      Next, we went into repetition. A few types noted were — gradation, dispersal, explosal, etc.


      Figure 2.1.3, Gradual repetition, featuring gradation, 14/4/2021

      All this was tied together by explaining the overlap between a bunch of design principles, and how we could use them to construct stories. Other things to consider can also include sparseness, density, texture, etc.


      We were then brought through an exercise of emphasis. Each of us had to cut out a shape, and compete against each other on whose shape reigned supreme. On the first run, the shape that took the cake was the one that covered the frame the most. Then on the second run, there were no longer any clear winners as everyone's sizes were normalized.

      Figure 1.3.1, My shape from the exercise, 14/4/2021

      exercise[2]: Emphasis & Balance



      Create two pieces of design on paper using coloured pencils/pens/markers; one showcasing emphasis, & one showcasing balance.



      The crossover between emphasis & balance was really strong in my research, so I just decided to bunch them together. My initial ideas for this was """slice of life"""; to play with space and chroma, masking out a main design subject.

      Figure 2.1.1, A few Balanced images showcasing space as a tool for Emphasis, n.d


      Then, inline with the space concept, I explored space. More specifically, the neutron star, which I previously had done some research on.


      Figure 2.1.1, Artist renditions of neutron stars, n.d


      Figure 2.1.3, Scientifically based neutron star collision visual, 16/10/2017


      Figure 2.1.4, Sketch featuring Emphasis, 14/4/2021

      Figure 2.1.5, Sketch featuring Balance, 14/4/2021


          • 21/4/2021
            • Emphasis
              • Is a little vague, but definitely emphasizes whatever the item is.
            • Balance
              • Is perfectly balanced, like all things should be.
              • The funnel could be expanded and accentuated.



      Figure 2.1.6, Final physical piece that features Emphasis, 15/4/2021

      Figure 2.1.7,  Final physical piece that features Balance, 15/4/2021