Something that is singled out or made more prominent has emphasis. An element of a design that dominates or becomes the center of interest has emphasis.
Within the visual components of a page design, emphasis is applied to individual parts such as a word or phrase by changing its appearance, making it stand out. Sometimes considered a principle of design on its own, emphasis can be created using all of the various elements and principles of design.
Emphasis and the Elements of Design
Create a focal point by making one component of the design more prominent or eye-catching than the others.
In a design composed of horizontal lines, the vertical line becomes the focal point.
A square stands out from a group of circles or organic shapes.
The physically or visually heavier element or piece commands more attention.
Embossing adds tactile interest and emphasis.
A splash of color or a strong change in value in an otherwise gray piece will draw the eye.
Emphasis and the Principles of Design
Use the arrangement of the page components to create a focal point or visual hierarchy of dominant and subordinant elements.
A perfectly symmetrical piece may have no focal point because each element is equally emphasized. Radial balance generally draws the eye first to the central point in the design.
A part of the design that is isolated from other parts can become a focal point.
The eye is naturally drawn to a point in or near the center of a page, giving elements in that area perceived importance.
Repeating an image or a word can establish its importance.
Set words or phrases in a contrasting bold type or italics to give them emphasis.
Use white space to isolate elements and give them emphasis.
Whether or not classified as a principle of design, emphasis is an important concept that touches on all aspects of graphic design and page composition.
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