Today, many people aspire to become a freelance graphic designer. In order to be a good designer you have to be a good artist, and contrary to what some people may tell you, it is a skill that can be acquired with a good amount of practice.
Enter the elements of art and principles of design. By becoming aware of these two things, you’ll boost your ability to perform as a designer and to create good art. Part of your task as a designer is to make these second nature to you.
There are two primary reasons for learning these formal things: 1) It will give you a wider source of raw elements to work with, as all art is made up of these elements, and all design of these principles. 2) Second, it will give you the tools you need to analyze art and design. But practically, it will also give you a working vocabulary to engage with clients about your work, resulting in increased confidence in you as a designer. This is important because clear communication is vital to a working client-artist relationship, and vague impressions or intuitions simply won’t cut it. You have to be able to articulate design vision, specific choices you’ve made, etc.
So here are what are traditionally referred to as the seven elements of art, which are the visual aspects of all art which artists and designers use to create their work:
Next, here are nine principles of design, which, practically speaking, refer to the way you arrange the elements of art to create a good, working design:
Now, these vary slightly depending on the source. But memorizing these, practicing analysis on art (both on others’ and your own!), and it will make you a better graphic artist or designer. You’ll notice a difference in how you work, and as you begin to use the vocabulary when engaging with your clients, it will increase their confidence in you as a designer.