Graphic Design For Kids

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What is graphic design?

Graphic design is all around us. We see its elements used in everything that hasn’t been created by nature – fine arts, traffic signs, web design, font styles, logos, book covers, and more! Graphic design uses forms, pictures, words, and graphics as tools to express meaningful ideas to reach a certain audience or achieve a certain goal.

What are the elements of graphic design?

There are many elements of graphic design, including line, shape, form, color, space, size, texture, balance, pattern, clearness, and grid. Graphic design also follows certain rules, such as contrast, alignment, importance, repetition, negative space, depth, type, and symmetry. Keep reading for a breakdown of some of these key graphic design terms!

A line is a shape that connects two or more points. Lines can have different weights (heavy, light, fat, thin), colors, or textures (i.e. smooth, wavy, jagged). Lines appear in many design contexts – drawings, illustrations, patterns, textures. Line often plays an important role in guiding the viewer’s eye to a certain subject. Graphic designers also use lines to convey emphasis in text compositions as well as to divide and organize content.

When a two-dimensional shape becomes three-dimensional, it is called a form. Basic forms include spheres, cubes, cylinders, pyramids, and cones. However, any object that has height, width, and depth is considered a form. Forms can be three-dimensional objects that exist in the real world, but they can also be implied through the use of light, shadow, and perspective. These techniques create the illusion of depth and can provide the appearance of layers. Forms are used as a powerful tool that can offer designs a sense of realism when used in moderation

Texture is the perceived physical quality of a surface. Texture can occur on a real object in three dimensions or it can be implied, as with forms, through the techniques of light, shadow, and perspective. Texture can be used in design to convey messages, emotions, depth, and tactility. Examples of commonly used textures include smooth, rough, hard, soft, matte, glossy, flat, raised, and dull. Texture is sometimes added to the background image of designs as a way to

Balance is the equal distribution of visual weight. Graphic designers use balance to influence how much any one object attracts the viewer’s eye. Balance, which is closely related to composition, can be affected by an object’s color, size, number, as well as the amount of negative space. Negative space refers to the empty space behind the object of focus in the foreground. Implementing balance in design requires a sense of intuition, but it is a skill that can be honed by looking at other examples and training one’s eye. Symmetrical design refers to designs that are the same or similar on both sides of an axis. Asymmetrical designs present objects of different weight but can still be considered balanced if the weight is evenly distributed and is able to bring the viewer’s visual attention to right things. Another aspect to consider along with balance and composition is the “Rule of Thirds.” Designers will use this technique to divide their work area into an imaginary three by three grid. The idea is to place the focal point of the image along one or more of these intersecting gridlines. Research has found that the human eye has a natural tendency to follow this path when viewing a design.

Want to learn more?

If you are hooked on graphic design and would like to start experimenting with your own designs, there are some great free resources you can start exploring.  

  • Canva is an intuitive platform that uses drag and drop features to enable beautiful designs and professional layouts. Canva offers a fairly comprehensive free version, as well as a subscription version which enables more professional design tools.

  • Pixlr is a free web-based photo editing program that you can use right in your browser. Many of its features are comparable to Adobe Photoshop.

  • Google Drawings is another fantastic free tool that lets users create shapes, charts, and diagrams. Best of all, as with Google’s other tools, Google Drawings lets users work collaboratively and documents are automatically saved to your Google Drive!
  • Lastly, if you’d like to dive even deeper into graphic design or you just want some help getting started, check out iCAMP’s online classes, our virtual camp and virtual mini-camp options, our in person Hamptons summer camp, as well as our private in-home summer camp. Go sign up!


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