When creating a design, I sometimes need some help. Before I turn to my fellow designers and directors, I like to ask an old friend, Mr. Bucep for guidance.
But who exactly is Mr. Bucep? Well, Mr.Bucep is not a person; Mr. Bucep is an acronym that I first heard from my grade nine art teacher, and a concept that I still refer to today. Mr. Bucep is an easy way to remember the main principles of design.
I’d like to introduce you to Mr. Bucep.
Movement can help guide the viewer through the design, making sure they pick up on the most important messages. Through the use of shape and lines, you can create a path for viewer’s eyes to follow.
Also, illustrations and photographs that show movement and action can create excitement and make a design pop off the page.
Movement goes hand in hand with rhythm, which uses repetition of elements to create a pattern that can help determine the feeling, mood or style of the design.
A good design should have a sense of balance. Each piece of the design has a certain weight associated with it, so the placement and size of these pieces must be carefully thought out to achieve a design that looks comfortable and pleasing to the eye. There are three different kinds of balance: asymmetrical, symmetrical and radial. Asymmetrical means without symmetry so, while the elements are arranged to have a sense of balance, they are not necessarily distributed evenly on both sides, while symmetrical balance are like mirrored images and very evenly balanced on either side of a center point. Radial balance comes from a center point on the page and works outwards in all directions.
For more on the different types of balance used in design see our previous post Design 101 shape and layout
Unity is a measure of how different elements of a design work together. All elements (shape, colour and type) should work together to give the piece an overall pleasing aesthetic. Unity also applies when creating multiple pieces or building a brand, as all design elements should relate to and complement each other to be construed as part of the bigger picture.
Contrast is created when two elements are strikingly different from each other. Contrast helps to focus and highlight different parts of the design, while creating drama and excitement in a design. Contrast is important when designing pieces that need to be read or viewed quickly and/or from a distance to ensure that the message is not lost.
Using emphasis helps establish a focal point on the page to create a visual hierarchy of what is most important. Emphasis helps guide the viewers’ visual path through the design. Decide on what the emphasis should be and where it should be placed within the design and use balance and contrast to help highlight it.
Using the same elements of design and repeating them over and over creates pattern. Pattern increases visual excitement by creating a unique rhythm.
Pleased to meet you Mr. Bucep!