Design Principles – Contrast

The brain recognizes colour as a priority, hence why contrast is generally associated with colour but contrast in design has power beyond most peoples knowledge.

To put simply contrast is a way of defining or creating differences by way of shape, colour, size and location.

Contrast in size and colour
Contrast in size and colour

The effect of contrast has a psychological effect on us as humans because contrast is the reason why we can see and identify anythings at all.

Contrast is not just a visual tool to make things look pretty or relative, its highly functional.

With regards to documents we use contrast by way of headers and text to define areas and then we may use different type and even sub-headers as contrasting tools to highlight different sections and normality.

Creating contrast in graphic design with use of spacing and formatting
Creating contrast in graphic design with use of spacing and formatting

Contrast can point out important sections or group together pieces to create a common relationship.

Creating contrast in graphic design with use of relationships
Creating contrast in graphic design with use of relationships

Other pieces such as signs use contrast in colour to highlight warnings and danger.

Creative Contrast in Graphic Design with Psychology
Creative Contrast in Graphic Design with Psychology

Websites may use a sidebar with one colour and the main body in another.  This is to direct us as viewers and create functionality.

Creating Contrast in WebDesign
Creating Contrast in WebDesign

To sum up, contrast in design is used to create visual functionality and a psychological connection with its users.



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