Posts Tagged ‘Design Theory’

A definition of positive and negative space in design can simply be described as that positive space is the areas in a work of art that are the subjects. Negative space is the spaces around the shapes. It is just as important to consider the negative space in a picture as the positive shapes.

Positive and negative space play an important role in determining the overall composition in a work of art.  By understanding positive and negative space and applying your knowledge, you can become more successful in designing your compositions.

Sometimes artists create pieces that have no distinction between positive and negative spaces. M. C. Escher was a master at creating drawings where there was no distinction between positive and negative space. Here is an example of Escher’s work which show the interplay between positive and negative space:

M.C. Escher

M.C. Escher

Here are more examples of clever use of negative space.

Dirty Harry

Dirty Harry

Two for Love Logo

Two for Love Logo



negative melbourne

negative throat

Peter and The Wolf- Phoebe Morris Illustration

Peter and The Wolf- Phoebe Morris Illustration

Lightbulb Art

Lightbulb Art

by Rene Gruau - awesome shapes and negative space and light!

by Rene Gruau – awesome shapes and negative space and light!

Rene' Gruau

Rene’ Gruau



By Nuxuno Xän. In Fort De France, Martinique. Photo Rosali Rodrigues f

Which Gestalt Principles of Design are at work in these images?

1. Continuance?

2. Closure?

3. Alignment?

4. Similarity -?

5. Law of Pragnanz – Simplicity ?

6. Proximity?

Illustration from Sylvia’s Thoughts Blog

See also Gestalt Principles of Perception

Great infographic on colour in logo design by Muse Design

Colour Psychology in Logo Design

Basics of Typography Design

Definition of Typography

The act or art of expressing by means of types or symbols; emblematical or hieroglyphic representation.

The art and craft of designing typefaces is called type design. Designers of typefaces are called type designers. In digital typography, type designers are sometimes also called font developers or font designers. (Ref)

Every typeface is a collection of glyphs, each of which represents an individual letter, number, punctuation mark, or other symbol.

The term typeface is frequently confused with the term font.

Crash Course In Typography

What is the difference between Typeface and Font?

According to Mark Simonson a typeface is:

the physical embodiment of a collection of letters, numbers, symbols, etc. (whether it’s a case of metal pieces or a computer file) is a font. When referring to the design of the collection (the way it looks) you call it a typeface. (Ref)

Fonts don’t just display letters as words and sentences. They convey emotion, attitude and tone. They call out what information is most important and help you navigate through a site.

Cameron Chapman sums it up:

The mood of a typeface is an important part of how it should be used. Different typefaces have strikingly different moods. Commonly used moods include formal vs. informal, modern vs classic/traditional, and light vs dramatic. Some typefaces have very distinct moods. For example, Times New Roman is pretty much always going to be a traditional font, which is why it’s so commonly used for business correspondence. Verdana, on the other hand, has a more modern mood.

Some typefaces are more transcendent, and can convey almost any mood based on the content and the other typefaces they’re combined with. Helvetica is often considered one such font.

The following animation  Type High is an introduction to the principles of typography through letterpress, to serve as a typography primer for novice students and for classroom instruction. It was a self-initiated project under the guidance of Raphael Attias in his class, Interactive Text, Sound and Image, at RISDType High was part of a larger toolkit that allowed students to interact with type anatomy, composition and type in the real world. Produced in stop-motion animation, it explains the grammar of typography in the RISD letterpress shop. The video was made by Lynn Kiang.

Basics of Typography – Great Links

Intro to Typography Basics

The Basics of Typography

A Crash Course in Typography ( Excellent – all you need to know)

8 Simple Ways to Improve Typography in Your Designs

A great GIF showing the history of the alphabet from Reddit 

History of the Alphabet

The infographic below presents a history of typefaces, incorporating fun tidbits from tech, pop culture and the web. Do you know what font the Google logo is? 

History of Western Typefaces

From Mashable

For those of you thinking of going into design – of any kind – this is a brilliant interview with Tom Ford talking about his life as a designer, his vision and how “the fashion of the times” reflects a current social environment.”

SWOT Analysis

Posted: January 11, 2013 in Design Theory
Tags: , ,

In your Design Theory exam paper you will get a question where you have to make a SWOT analysis of a product. This infographic is a perfectly illustrates Swot analysis.

(ROI is an acronym for Return on Investment – the amount of profit or cost savings realized by implementing a practice or strategy)

SWOT analysis

For everything you need to know about SWOT Analysis click on the image below


Bio: He received his B.A. and M.A. degrees from the Technical University of Munich (1964), and subsequently did postgraduate studies in urban planning at the RWTH Aachen (1968). He has held teaching positions at the Academie for Bouwkunst in Maastricht; the University of Kassel; and has been professor and chair of landscape architecture and planning at the Technical University Munich-Weihenstephan from 1983 until 2008 and has been appointed Emeritus of Excellence (2008). He is principal, with his wife Anneliese and his son Tilman, of Latz + Partners in Kranzberg, Germany. His most notable project is the hugely successful Duisburg Park.

His work has been published and exhibited internationally, and he continues to work on a wide range of projects, from urban and regional planning to large-scale landscape architecture to small open spaces. His research is in the field of alternative technologies connected with the long-term reclamation, development and maintenance of damaged landscapes. Latz was the recipient of the Grande Medaille d’Urbanisme from the Académie d’Architecture in Paris (2001), the first European Prize for Landscape Architecture (2002), the EDRA Places Award (2005) and the Green Good Design Award (2009).(Ref)

Duisburg-Nord Landscape Park in Germany

Conception and Creation:

Landschaftspark is a public park was designed in 1991 by Latz + Partner (Peter Latz), with the intention that it work to heal and understand the industrial past, rather than trying to reject it. The park closely associates itself with the past use of the site: a coal and steel production plant (abandoned in 1985, leaving the area polluted) and the agricultural land it had been prior to the mid 19th century.

The Landscape Park is an example of an up-to-date and intelligent approach to alternative environmental technologies and the reclamation of extensive industrial landscapes.

In Peter Latz’s landscape architecture, ecological and social concerns are translated into an individual aesthetic language that aims to achieve a timeless quality. The different layers and meanings of the sites rich in history are revealed and woven into networks of spatial and temporal relationships that follow rules of their own – the syntax of landscape. A sense of process and dynamism in sustainable landscape structures characterises the works, works that are open for change: they are spaces in development, not parks as finite set pieces. (Ref)

Influenced by deconstructionist philosophy. The binary pairs of park/waste, process/product and art/nature are inverted:

waste becomes park, product becomes process, nature becomes art.

Old structures found new uses, such as a diving center in a gasometer, a climbing park in the old coal bunkers, different pathways, an open air cinema, concert halls, a lookout on top of the former blast furnace and even a hostel.

Three types of recycling underly the park design.

1. Buildings were re-cycled and new uses were found for old buildings. Blast furnaces become accessible ‘follies’; concrete tanks become walled gardens; water tanks become water gardens and the  former sewage canal was turned into a method of cleansing the site.

2. He allowed the polluted soils to remain in place and be recycled through phytoremediation, and isolated soils with high toxicity in the existing bunkers.

3. Water is recycled.(Ref)



The park is divided into different areas, whose borders were carefully developed by looking at existing conditions (such as how the site had been divided by existing roads and railways, what types of plants had begun to grow in each area, etc).



This piecemeal pattern was then woven together by a series of walkways and waterways, which were placed according to the old railway and sewer systems. While each piece retains its character, it also interacts with the site surrounding it.

Within the main complex, Latz emphasized specific programmatic elements:

  • The concrete bunkers create a space for a series of intimate gardens.
  • Old gas tanks have become pools for scuba divers,
  • Concrete walls are used by rock climbers,
  • One of the most central places of the factory, the middle of the former steel mill, has been made into piazza.
  • Each of these spaces uses elements to allow for a specific reading of time.

The site was designed with the idea that a grandfather, who might have worked at the plant, could walk with his grandchildren, explaining what he used to do and what the machinery had been used for. The relics serve to show visitors how the industrial processes worked at the plant, thus embracing the importance of memory in a landscape. At Landschaftspark, memory was central to the design. Various authors have addressed the ways in which memory can inform the visitor of a site, a concept that became prevalent during Postmodernism.

If you set off today to climb to the viewing platform of the blast furnace, which is 70 metres high and accessible to all, you will be astonished by the panorama that confronts you. Continuous remodelling of the surroundings has converted an industrial waste land into a unique adventure park for both young and old.

In the summer of 1994 the Duisburg-Nord Country Park was presented to the public and opened to visitors for the first time. Already on this occasion of the park’s official opening, there were more than 50,000 visitors. Ten years later, the park is now being visited by more than 500,000 people every year..

Picture Michael Hein