Relations, part 2

This blog post will follow in similar lines as my last post with me continuing to talk about relations. The book Visual Grammar continues to discuss the different elements of relations, and are now talking about coordination, how objects can be coordinated depending on same value, focus or being perceived from same perspective. It also talks about distance, parallel, tangent and influence. Distance are perceived between two objects and can be different depending in the viewer´s perspective. Parallel is explained as when two lines lies parallel on the same plane with equal distance from each other at all times. They will never meet, no matter how long they are. An angle on the other hand is the space between two straight lines that are intersecting. Most common angles would be 90 degree and 45 degree. The word tangent stands for when two objects are next to each other and are sharing one common point. Compound is two objects overlapping and therefore appears to be one object while Subtraction is when part of an object overlaps another object and therefore takes away part from the underlying object making it smaller and subtracted. Another term the book talks about is influence, which is an object that has changed form due to another object, or is mutual influenced by another object.

When looking around at different sources I found an article about tangents. One thing with this however is that instead of being something positive to use, it talks about it being something to avoid. In comparison to most other subjects in the book it is interesting to read about from the perspective of what to think about not to do, since that can be as important in design as what to do. In the article it gives examples on multiple tangents that can happen but should not happen. For example, putting an object in a corner so it is closed or putting an object right next to the edge so that they share the common point. These will create visual bothersome and many times be more disturbing than helpful.
On another site,, tangent are explained as lines interacting and creating a relationship that the designer did not intend to make, which can lead to confusion and create lines to be flattened to the audience. It does talk about how some tangents can be helpful sometimes, for example to get the viewers attention. This would depend on the composition, the use of the lines etc.

Here is examples of different tangents that can be distracting and should be considered to be avoided in a composition. Source:

Here is another example of tangents. The circles are just barely touching the edges and creating a common point where they meet. Source:

This is a picture of an example of parallels, the poles are parallel with each other and won´t intersect even if getting longer. Source:

Here is a picture that can show an example of subtraction. The pink cube is subtracted by the black side, as well as other parts are being overlapped.





For this post we are starting to look at relations, explained in Christian Leborg´s Visual Grammar book as how a visual object relates to its audience, format and other elements in the composition. There are many ways in how relations affect a design, and some of these more common ones are balance, symmetry/asymmetry, direction, space/weight and background/foreground etc. It´s really interesting to look at all different relations since they can make a composition so much more interesting. By adding attraction for example, putting two objects together that attracts each other rather then repel one another, the composition will most likely become more interesting to look at. The energetic compositions will create an illusion of an activity in the objects and create movement.
Having objects be neutral, not contrasting and standing out in a composition also helps to define the relations. These can all help contribute to adding depth. Fine/course can also be a good way, and whether the structure is more fine or course is determined by the distance between the structure lines. Whether an object is the background or foreground is decided through the position of them and the proportions they have in relation to each other. Another very common element is space. Space can be either dense or spread out in a composition, and the way the objects are placed can decide the impression of this. The book also talks about how direction can be defined by structure and can have multiple directions, where of one is more dominant then the other.

After reading the book I want to focus more on space, and specially positive and negative space. I have already studied it some in my art classes, but being such a interesting tool I want to develop the knowledge even more. Space, in two dimensional designs, is explained on the site as an area that is activated through visual elements, such as line or shape. It also explains positive space as the objects shape and most often the main focus on a page. The other space is called negative space (or white space). Negative space is explained as the space around objects, helping them become more readable, especially if it´s text. It also can help direct the viewers eye. The negative space can be used to help audience find a resting point, as well as helping them take in the information. To get composition that is interesting and challenges however it could be played with as positive space and the other way around.

I also wanted to look up more about Symmetry and asymmetry. I feel like they are used more than we first think and without people really thinking about it. On the site it explains symmetry vs asymmetry. Symmetry is the more harmonic and static one, while asymmetri is more interesting and dynamic.One interesting use of symmetry/asymmetry that the site talks about is how we want both in a design, and how we can sometimes put them together. Depending on what you want to communicate you can use either of them, and sometimes use both of them to give the composition both interest and harmony, and therefore find a balance between them.

Here´s an example of symmetry, with the line going in the middle with equal space on both sizes. It is also using a little asymmetry with the amount of numbers on the sizes Source:


A picture showing example of negative and positive space. The wolf is at first positive space, but when you look closely the designer has also played with the negative space and created a person. Source:

Another design working more with the negative/positive space and their different dominance. Here the positive space is competing with the negative space, creating a tension and interest which makes the viewer go back and forth. Source:

These two pictures help showing asymmetry (to the left) compared to symmetry (on the right). Source:


For this week we are looking at different design actions and how activities in a design can create a more interesting art piece. In our book Visual Grammar by Christian Leborg we can read about repetition, rhythm, movement, direction, rotation and other ways of activities. First of Leborg explains how activities are actually being perceived by a static representation or a sequence which is creating an illusion of activity. Such activities could be repetition, objects that have some characteristic in common are arranged in a repeated composition. When these repeated object then has a identical distance it creates a frequency, and the distance varies between different frequencies it creates a rhythm. The repetion can have different forms, colors, sizes, direction or textures, as long as one of the characteristics are the same. Another way of creating activities from the book is rotation, which is made when an object moves around a point or an axis, and that can be either circular or elliptic shaped. It can also move around it´s own axis through having its rotation point inside the object. Movement is another way to bring in activities in a design, it is only possible to create a representation of movement which is made by positioning an object in a way that suggest forces to influence it and thereby move it. When creating a movement it is helpful to look at direction and path, where direction is the line leading objects from starting point to the endpoint and the path is a non-visible line that the constant movement of objects follow.

Being that movement makes a big difference in a design and helps bring ones attention around the whole page, I want to look more closely at how this works and how it works so well together with patterns etc. Two ways to use movement is by blurring or sequential change. By looking in the book Foundations of Design by Jeff Davis ( we can learn more about these two. By blurring the edges on an object, or by reducing their appearance gradually, the illusion of a movement can be created since it makes the object seem faster than our eyes can read. When creating sequential changes, by slowly and gradually change objects within a repeating form, we can also create an illusion of movement as well. These could be done with use of patterns, use of a path or by a direction etc.
Another good way to add activities in a design is the use of repetition. At the site ( we can read how repetition also can be looked at as a consistency, and that the principle of repetition is “to repeat some aspect of a design throughout the whole design.” Further down in the text the writer talks about how repetition can be helpful to use when creating and designing business cards, posters and such. One thing is that it can help create unity and make your eye move up and down or back and forth on a paper. For example by starting with a bigger text and ending with a bigger text the viewers eye will most likely go back and forth between the start and beginning, using the whole space of the design. Another good use with repetition is to show that two different designs belong to each other, and to help brand yourself. By using a repetition of a graphic or a font for example one can use it on multiple cards/papers and connect them through unity.

ere is a pictures showing a rotation, the object is moving around a point in the center which creates an activity, and movement, for the viewer.  Source of picture:

This poster shows movement, the patterns and the lines leads your eyes through the whole design. Source of picture:

Here is an example of movement that has been blurred, it is reducing the appearance slowly to create the illusion that the objects are moving. Source of picture:

his an example of how repetition can be used to unify, to make multiple design belong. By using the same font, same color scheme and adding the logo in the left corner in all these design we can clearly understand that they all belong together. The structure of how the text and designs are laid out is also following repetition and makes them all unified. Source of picture:


In this week we are looking at concrete objects and structures, which has more to do with different elements and not necessarily about the concrete material you first would think about . For this section, the book Visual Grammar talks about multiple themes and different styles such as texture, color, gradient etc. It starts by talking about concrete objects, which are objects that are within contour lines and defining the shape or form, and that these can be either straight or curved. Some examples of concrete forms would be geometric form which is based on mathematical facts, organic form which is made or based on living things and random forms which are made by random sequences such as reproduction, unconscious human actions etc. Other things the book explains is size, how it is relative to the viewers perspective, and should be thought about when deciding where and what format it is design with. I also really liked how Christian Leborg explained the colors, and used the books theme of color to explain the hues, lightness / darkness and saturation. In comparison to my last blog post, this week we could read how the concrete structure is more used as a visual composition, while the abstract structures are used more to indicate how the objects are positioned.
When looking at outside sources I wanted to understand more about color, both being that it sounded a little briefly explain and since we recently talked about it in class as well. On the site x it talks about color and the relationship with light, explaining how the light is a radiant energy, and how that energy is made with short electric vibrations or wavelengths. These wavelengths are then what creates colors for the human eye, and sunlight is especially creating colors being that it contains all wavelengths in comparison to electrical light that sometimes only show a few wavelengths leading to some color being black instead. I find this fascinating and almost hard to grasp, that all colors we see are based on light. Even though I have worked with colors in previous classes, I never before actually thought too much about it.
I also looked at texture, and what importance it can do to a design. When adding a  texture it can help adding depth as well as unity within designs. On the website it is read that a
texture helps carry a design and by knowing how to use a texture to communicate the right mood could make a design more successful. On we can read more about textures, and the effects it can give in web design. A texture can help guiding the viewer and help to bring out the focal point and the important key elements. It also talks about there being pros and cons within using the texture, and that a design shouldn’t be fully based on in, it is more a help and not main element. Texture can help bring out text and headlines, but it could also take away from the legibility so it is important to be careful about what texture that is used and how much contrast in it.


Here is a picture showing how sunlight sends wavelength on the leafs and our brain then seeing this wave as being green. Source:

Minimalist Graphic Art of Geometric Shapes by ngrafik

Minimalist Graphic Art of Geometric Shapes by ngrafik

Graphic Design with Geometric Shapes by ngrafik

Graphic Design with Geometric Shapes by ngrafik

Here are two examples of using geometric shapes in graphic designs,  Source:


Here we can see how the size of objects makes a difference to viewers. In the left we perceive it as more realistic, with the big mountains and the biker being normal human size compared to nature. On the right on the other hand, the man looks like a giant and are bigger than the city, which in reality doesn’t make sense. Sources: and