Four Elements Your Designs Might be Lacking

July 1, 2018

 Recently I’ve been talking endlessly about how I felt like my work hasn’t been up to par. Within this confrontational time, I’ve had the perspective to look at myself and figure out what it was precisely my designs were lacking. 


The funny thing about getting to an “intermediate stage” within any craft is that you find you’re in this weird disposition where a lot of educational tools out there are either too “beginner”, and the expert course still seems out of reach. So it can be hard to filter through and find the right things that pertain to your needs. 


Taking some self-initiated learning, I formulated my approach and found a formula of things that help breath life into my designs. I would keep thinking in a “two-dimensional” headspace and would always feel like my work was very flat and wouldn’t have that “wow” factor. So let's go into the four things that will help breathe life into your work. 



This principle helps in how objects will interact with each other. Having transparent layers on top of each other and blending the various opacities can create some exciting colour blends and levels of detail. It can also aid in adding subtle movement within your designs. 







Very evident in the lettering space, but texture adds to making designs feel very tactile. Textures offer a notion that you can touch and feel the design as an object. Which helps give designs a bit more “wow factor” and also aid in making them feel less computer generated and more organic.






Movement was probably the most prominent “breakthrough” principle for me. Previously I felt my work was very linear. Initially, I was terrified of this principle as I thought I would have to think like an animator. But there are so many ways you can make your work have a sense of motion with the addition of wavy lines. Adopting this principle seems complicated. But once taking this principle into account, you can very much introduce it into your work to see the value it brings.   







This principle can work in the most straightforward way, yet similar to the other laws; it’s a matter of getting into the mind of thinking as to “where can I add in depth” that it starts becoming more natural. The fantastic thing about adding depth is it can be as simple as adding in an extra shading value within an illustration space or drop shadow for typography. 


One of the most important things I learnt from the book How to Draw the Marvel Way, is when applying shading values; it’s crucial to think of it concerning a formation of a 3D object. Practising by drawing objects as “spheres” with a mesh grid certainly helps in getting your head around where shading can form around an object to give it an accurate sense of depth. Shading in its self is a whole another ball game to get your head around and learn. But the How to Draw the Marvel Way has been the best explanation of this principle that I've found to date. 





This blog has been a snapshot insight of these design principles. I’m hoping this helps people familiarise themselves with certain aspects of adding in more vibrancy into their work. 


If anyone has any questions or would like to discuss some of these principles further, I would love to hear from you. Don’t be afraid to dive in and do a bit of your research to help strengthen your weaker areas!




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