Week 2 Discussion – Design Theories

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Week 2 Discussion – Design Theories

Learning Objectives Covered

  • LO 04.01 – Identify and apply three advanced principles of design
  • LO 04.02 -Identify and discuss six design theories related to the principles and elements of design

Career Relevancy

In your career, you will be tasked with design projects and your job is to utilize the principles and elements of design effectively. Building upon what you have learned and researching theories will help you to create more cohesive and unique designs.


As you know, graphic design and art are different. While art is created to express an emotion, graphic design has to visually communicate a message. In these messages, we utilize the principles of design. By now you should be familiar with the four basic principles of design (contrast, repetition, alignment, and proximity). The principles of design are the foundation of any design piece. Very rarely will you find less than two design principles being used in any given design. In order to create an effective composition, a graphic designer must understand and adhere to the advanced principles of design to convey the message to the target audience. This week we will start to explore additional design theories and how they improve design function and communication. For example, if you are creating a flyer for an event, you must not only implement the principles of design, but you must adhere to balance, focal point, white space, emphasis, the rule of thirds etc. in order to help make the composition unique and interesting. While you are researching, notice how each advanced principle plays a role in a composition.


Research 2 of the theories below and discuss them in your original post. You can define them, show examples of them being used, compare and contrast the theories and/or talk about when or how you can use them in design pieces.

  1. Balance
  2. Negative (or white) Space
  3. The Rule of Thirds
  4. Focal Point
  5. Emphasis
  6. The Devine Proportion (AKA Golden Rule)

Your initial and reply posts should work to develop a group understanding of this topic. Challenge each other. Build on each other. Always be respectful but discuss this and figure it out together.

Reply Requirements

Per the Due Dates and Participation Requirements for this course, you must submit 1 main post of 150+ words, 1 citation, and reference, as well as 2 follow-up posts of 50+ words. Responses can be addressed to both your initial thread and other threads but must be your own words (no copy and paste), each reply unique (no repeating something you already said), and substantial in nature. Remember that part of the discussion grade is submitting on time (20%) and using proper grammar, spelling, etc. (20% per post).

Remember that part of the discussion grade is submitting on time and using proper grammar, spelling, etc. You’re training to be a professional—write like it.

Click here for info on the Institution Writing Guidelines (IWG) if you have questions.

First reply:

Tony Marcantel

In this week’s discussion we are talking about 6 design theories. We are asked to pick 2 and research and discuss them. Here is what I chose:

Negative Space

The first time I heard of negative space is when I learned about scratchboard. A poster-board is sprayed with India Ink and the artist then uses a scratch knife to remove the black. What is left becomes what is normally known as negative space. Negative space is defined as the space around and between the subject(s) of an image. Here is an example:

Focal Point

The focal point is the center of interest or activity in a work of art. It may or may not be the actual center of a painting or drawing, but it is always the most important part. Contrast, structure and color are three things that help define the focal point. Here is an example:

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https://images.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search;Links to an external site.

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Edited by Tony Marcantel on Nov 3 at 7:49pm