Design Principles: Exercises

01/04/19-19/04/19 (Week 1-Week 4)
Angelina Lee An Qi (0334272)
Design Principles

Lecture Notes

Lecture 6 (08/05/19): Alignment, Hierachy, Direction & Perspective
Week 6:

– allows you to arrange elements in a way that matches how people naturally scan the page.
– helps balance your image so that it’s visually appealing.
– creates a visual connection between related elements.

Edge alignment naturally positions elements against a margin that matches up with their outer edges. This is quite a common technique.

Centre alignment places design elements so that they line up with one another on their centre axes. Technically, every shape has a centre axis.

Common types of horizontal alignment for text:
– centered
– flush left
– flush right
– justified

Visual hierachy enables visitors to scan information. It helps you communicate a message quickly and effectively. At the tope of the hierachy should be the information to help answer questions a visitor might immediately have upon langing the page.

Visual hierachy evolves out of gestalt. Focal points are one of the gestalt principles. Your dominant element is an extreme focal point. Both use contrast to stand out. The other side of the coin is similarity, which helps us see things as the same. Similarity and contrast are necessary ingredients in hierachy.

Hierachy is organizing design elements to establish a sense of order.

Visual direction is the perceived direction of visual forces. Think of it as the direction you would expect an element to move if it were in motion. To create visual direction, you can modify certain characteristics of an element which include:
– shape
– location
– subject matter
– movement
– structural skeleton

Visual direction and gestalt (how it relates):
– uniform connectedness
– continuation
– common fate
– parallelism

The art of drawing solid objects on a two-dimensional surface so as to give the right impression of their height, width, depth, and position in relation to each other when viewed from a particular point.

Creation of something more than what is required/minimal. Something which seems arbitary, but which you are sure has some reason. It is hidden, the unclear, the difficult, the different.

Two types of depth cues:
– pictorial cues (can be reproduced in a photograph or realistic painting)
– non-pictorial cues (cannot be reproduced in a photograph or realistic painting)

Occlusion (overlapping objects)
– strongest cue for depth
– overrides all other cues when a conflict seems to be present

Lecture 5 (01/05/19):
Week 5: We were supposed to have our lecture today, but Ms Sherry broke her arm and is unable to teach. Also it is Labor Day.

Lecture 4 (24/04/19): Pattern, Repetition, Texture & Surface
Week 4:

Types of Surfaces on paper:
– laid paper
– wove paper
– medium paper
– hot-pressed watercolour paper

Repetition is similar rhythm creating a movement. In visual production it is the recurrence of a particular line, pattern shape or other visual elements. The reusing same or similar elements throughout a design.

Pattern is formed through the repetition of an element. The arrangement of lines or shapes, especially a design in which the same shape is repeated at regular intervals over a surface.

Types of patterns:
Flow (Greek or Roman architecture, tree roots)
– Branching (Often in plant world, floral artworks)
– Spiral (Formed through circular motions, i.e. galaxy)

Texture is the feel, appearance or consistency of a surface. Can help convey a message.

  • Man-made textures (Artificial textures that do not occur in nature)
  • Natural textures ( Turtle shell,
  • Tactile textures (3D, have physical quality that can be felt)
  • Visual textures (2D, give the illusion of having a real physical texture, implied texture)

Lecture 3 (17/04/19): Symmetry, Asymmetry & Balance
Week 3: Our contrast and gestalt pieces were critiqued this week. My team also did a presentation on this week’s topics.

Our presentation link:
Our quiz link:

Symmetry: When elements of the same size and shape are arranged on both sides of an axis to create order in a design.

Types of symmetry:
– Reflection (Bilateral)
– Rotational (Radial)
– Translational (Crystallographic)

Asymmetry: Opposite of symmetry; an uneven design which is still nice to look at. Can be used to create tension.

: distribution of elements of design.
: a visual interpretation of gravity in design.
: even distribution of visual images.

Lecture 2 (10/04/19): Gestalt
Week 2: “The Gestalt Effect” is the capability of our brain to generate whole forms, particularly with respect to the visual recognition of global figures instead of just collections of simpler and unrelated elements (points, lines, curves, etc.) [source: Wikipedia]

Proximity: When different elements are laid out close to each other, they are perceived to be belonging to the same group.
Similarity: Objects with shared visual characteristics are automatically taken to be related.
Multi-stability: The ability of our eyes to see two different things within a single image or design.
Continuity: Elements which are aligned with each other are perceived as visually associated.
Closure: Refers to making something concrete, bringing something into being or making something real.

Lecture 1 (03/04/19): Introduction to the module, Contrast
Week 1:
We were briefed on what is expected of us during the next 14 weeks. We were also given our first exercise under the topic ‘Contrast’.
Contrast is the difference of light colours and dark colours to create a wholesome image. There can be strong contrast or subtle contrast. 



Week 6: Alignment, Hierachy, Direction & Perspective

I took a photo of one of our university’s corridor using an automatic monochrome filter with a DSLR camera.

Settings used: –
F-stop: f/3.5
Exposure time: 1/100 sec.
ISO speed: ISO-125
Focal length: 18mm


Week 4 & 5: Pattern, Repetition, Texture & Surface

Materials used:
– chisel
– lino board
– eraser

WhatsApp Image 2019-05-08 at 10.36.51 PM(1)WhatsApp Image 2019-05-08 at 10.36.51 PM(3)


The stamps I made:

WhatsApp Image 2019-05-08 at 10.36.52 PMWhatsApp Image 2019-05-08 at 10.36.51 PM

In the process:

WhatsApp Image 2019-05-08 at 10.36.51 PM(2)WhatsApp Image 2019-05-08 at 10.36.52 PM(1)


I ended up giving it a border because I felt like it looked better with one:

Week 3: Symmetry, Asymmetry & Balance

Our presentation link:
Our quiz link:

Materials used:
– Pencil
– Watercolour





Final piece:WhatsApp Image 2019-04-24 at 8.29.26 AM(1)

Week 2: Gestalt

Materials used:
– Pencil
– Black gouache paint

These were the photos that gave me inspiration:


I did a few sketches and a draft on the bottom right:

WhatsApp Image 2019-04-17 at 11.41.09 AM


This was the piece I showed for the critique session on Week 3.WhatsApp Image 2019-04-17 at 11.41.48 AM


After the critique session in week 3, I decided to simplify my gestalt piece. This is the linework of it:

WhatsApp Image 2019-04-18 at 3.17.08 PM


This is the final piece:

WhatsApp Image 2019-04-18 at 3.17.08 PM(1)

Week 1: Contrast

Materials used:
– Black sugar paper
– Glue

I derived my inspiration mainly from these two photos:



These are the sketches and draft I did for my piece:


This is my final piece:

WhatsApp Image 2019-04-11 at 10.39.14 PM(1)


Since there was leftover black paper from my final piece, I decided to do an inverted colour one. Unfortunately, some of the eye tore off and I was unable to find the piece.WhatsApp Image 2019-04-11 at 10.39.14 PM


Week 7: One of my classmates thought that my picture was nice. Ms Sherry commented that it was very interesting that there was only one person in the corridor, because usually there would be more people.

Week 6: Ms Sherry said that my pattern assignment submission has nice colors and she kind of knew that I took printmaking in my foundation year when looking at it.

Week 5: There is no class.

Week 4: I was told that my watercolour piece was good and the placement was nice, but the hair looked quite bland and there was little sense of depth.

Week 3: Ms Sherry said that my contrast piece gives off a very calm and stable image. However, my gestalt piece has to be refined as it became a bit too complicated for gestaltism.

Week 2: There wasn’t any feedback during this week because the whole class was in confusion with our timetables.

Week 1: We were given our first exercise this week, so there wasn’t any feedback.


Week 7: I found it quite hard for me because I missed the presentation so I had to do some of my own research. I was also struggling to think of what subject to take.

Week 6: I came late into class, so I missed out on the critique session and presentation. However I did my own research and got Ms Sherry to see my pattern submission.

Week 5: There is no class.

Week 4: I felt like I could do better, so I’m planning to redo it. Howeber that depends if I have the time.

Week 3: My team did a presentation on symmetry, asymmetry and balance. I felt that our extra effort this early on will help give us a little bit more time to focus on assignments later in the semester.

Week 2: I was looking forward to the critique session during this week and was a tad bit disappointed when we spent the first half of the lecture sorting out our timetables and the second half on the gestalt lecture.

Week 1: I drew four drafts for my contrast piece. I was quite satisfied with it.

Week 7: My picture seems a bit too blurry.

Week 6: My pattern has random blotches here and there.

Week 5: There is no class.

Week 4: My hair looked bland.

Week 3: I still have a long way to go with my art.

Week 2: Our timetable was changing here and there.

Week 1: I made another contrast piece with inverted black and white colours with the leftover pieces I cut out while making the first one, but I accidentally tore the part connecting the eyebrow and the eye.

Week 7: I can probably adjust the angle a little bit to the right when I took the picture.

Week 6: I need to make my pattern neater.

Week 5: There is no class.

Week 4: I need to put some more light and shadow in the hair.

Week 3: I learnt how much I need to improve my art.

Week 2: I got some inspiration for my gestalt piece online.

Week 1: I found that I tend to learn a bit more looking up many references for a topic.



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