November 5, 2013 | By:

Training Your Eye

If you see something that you like ask yourself why you like it. What is it that makes it visually appealing? Is it the colors? Symmetry? The same can be true of something you don’t like. Question what it is you don’t like and why it’s not appealing to you.

Having a “good eye” is very important. Some people are born with one but everyone can improve their visual language by just being aware of things in your everyday life. You need to be an observer and take notice of your surroundings whether it’s a billboard or a sports car. The next time you think to yourself “I really like the way that looks”, look around and dissect what you specifically like about it in order to figure out why you like it. Take note of things that appeal to you in interior design, architecture, or even fast food packaging while keeping in mind that someone has purposefully designed all of these things to look that way. Think to yourself, “What is it that makes this work?” Break the elements down to figure out what is working and what is not. Is it line, color, shape, texture, space, form? These five items are called the elements of art and they are the building blocks used to create a work of art.

In compositional design like fine art, graphic design and photography, you can use the principles of design to help train yourself to have a “good eye”. When you’re looking at a brochure, a website, a painting or a photograph, examine why it is appealing to you by breaking down the following principles:

• Unity/Harmony – The individual parts work together as a meaningful whole
• Balance – A general feeling of visual equality in form, shape, color, etc.
• Emphasis – An area that first attracts attention
• Hierarchy – Naturally leads the reader through the elements in the order of their significance
• Scale/Proportion – The relative visual size of the graphical elements
• Similarity and Contrast – The occurrence of similar and different elements which creates interest and pulls attention towards focal point

Even if you’re not born with it, with a little focus and practice just about anyone can have a “good eye”.

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