The root of contrast psychology laid down in our survival mechanism where we are to differentiate friends from the enemies and we do that through abilities to recognize differences. Thus, contrast is capable to grab our immediate attention and draws eyes on desired elements. Hence, we can leverage our design by the contrasts used smartly and in organized ways.
For all sorts of designers visual communicative language consists of contrast, balance, harmony, and distribution as core building blocks of composition to help in conveying contexts and manipulation of relationships among the content elements.
Contrast in Designing
The first building block is contrast and it has prime importance in any design because contrast gives meaningful essence to any element of design through its values, properties, or quality in relation to something else or other elements of the design. Thus, contrast has great capacity to create differences, groups, and highlight element or group of elements within the design.
Similarity is just the opposite thing to the contrast and it enables contrast to become louder when much similarity exists against few contrasts.
How to Create Contrasts in Design
We can show contrasts and similarities in design using primitive features of the elements like
- Line Curvature/Terminators
- Closures (Enclosed Space)
For instance, two different shapes produce contrasts and it becomes more pronounced when color and size properties added. Apart from grabbing attention, we can use contrast in different purposes like,
- Through the difference created by contrast, we can define connection and separation among the design elements
- We can group or ungroup the elements easily further
- We can draw or establish boundaries between elements like we do with sidebar by giving it contrasting colors from the main background so visitors know which element ends where and which begins from
- We can create hierarchy in design by giving different level of contrasts or highlighting elements through contrast and guide our visitors to hit the goals rapidly
If you make each element contrasting against others, you may fail to highlight anything in design and your design will end up with absolute visual noise that ultimately leads to frustration, chaos, and confusion like feelings in the users or visitors.
If you use similarity and contrast in proportions, you can create robustness in design without breaking harmony and unity. We need both: contrast and similarity in design to show relationships between elements and create a visual language to deliver our message efficiently, otherwise nothing is meaningful in isolation.
Conclusively, if you want to create great visual design for your website or mobile application UIs, you need to learn how to and where to apply contrast and similarity principles. Fortunately, web design and mobile UI design teams at Lujayn have good eyes to balance everything in design in favor of their patrons.