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Design Resources

General Design & DesignBlitz Resources

Below you will find a set of general design resources as well as brief descriptions and resources for several concepts of visual / graphic design (Typography, Color, Minimalism, Affordance, Balance, Proportion, Unity, etc) that you will be using in your DesignBlitz assignment.

You should refer to and review the general resources as a way to familiarize yourself with concepts and approaches to design — they will prove helpful as you complete all your design work this week. 

You should review the DesignBlitz concepts, specifically, to help you with that particular assignment. Your task is to get a basic understanding of these concepts, and spend this week searching for examples of them as you complete your DesignBlitz. Refer to this week’s assignment post for details about what you must do to complete the DesignBlitz.

NOTE: We’re not expecting you to read every article or watch/listen to every video or audio on this page. This is a resource page and you should refer to it, as needed, this week while you complete the design unit. We DO recommend that you spend some time reviewing at least some of the resources here because we think you will find them useful. 

General Design Resources

What is Design?

What exactly is design? It factors into almost every object or thing we see on a regular basis. It involves the planning of an object’s presentation so that it achieves its purpose, be it a advertisement for chewing gum or a door knob.  Is good design as noticeable as bad design?

We Are All Artists

Listen to Tim Owens ” We Are All Artists”  (MP3 file) as well as the list of sites below that he refers to in his talk. You may find several of these resources very useful to you as you complete your design assignments this week!

DesignBlitz Resources


Color creates mood, draws attention to key elements. Good designs can use bold color or none at all (lack of color or monochrome makes a message too). What colors work well together? What methods of using color are more effective? What do saturate colors say as compared to pastels?




Typography “is the visual component of the written word” – It is the form in which text is displayed, and the characteristics of the type used- Is san serif always better? why or why not? What do aspects of font weight, style, spacing, kerning have to do with how a message is transmitted and received?




Comic Sans Criminal – make sure you are not committing the crime

Metaphors & Symbols

What are best practices for using symbols to represent objects, things, ideas? What works? How can complex ideas be represented in symbols?




The Woman Behind Apple’s First Icons

Minimalism & Use of Space

Minimalism / Use of Space

How can designers do more with less? What makes elegant designs?




Form, Function, Message


How well does design convey its meaning or potential use or real world objects?







“Balance is an equilibrium that results from looking at images and judging them against our ideas of physical structure (such as mass, gravity or the sides of a page). It is the arrangement of the objects in a given design as it relates to their visual weight within a composition. Balance usually comes in two forms: symmetrical and asymmetrical.”

The Everynone video Symmetry is a fantastic study on the ways things can display visual symmetry



“Rhythm is the repetition or alternation of elements, often with defined intervals between them. Rhythm can create a sense of movement, and can establish pattern and texture. There are many different kinds of rhythm, often defined by the feeling it evokes when looking at it.”



“Proportion is the comparison of dimensions or distribution of forms. It is the relationship in scale between one element and another, or between a whole object and one of its parts. Differing proportions within a composition can relate to different kinds of balance or symmetry, and can help establish visual weight and depth. ”


“Dominance relates to varying degrees of emphasis in design. It determines the visual weight of a composition, establishes space and perspective, and often resolves where the eye goes first when looking at a design.”


“The concept of unity describes the relationship between the individual parts and the whole of a composition. It investigates the aspects of a given design that are necessary to tie the composition together, to give it a sense of wholeness, or to break it apart and give it a sense of variety.”