"Picture This" Book: Visual Composition (THE PRINCIPLES…
"Picture This" Book: Visual Composition
We notice contrasts, or, put another way, contrast enables us to see.
The movement and import of the picture is determined as much by the spaces between the shapes as by the shapes themselves.
Distance makes the heart grow colder—not fonder
The center of the page is the most effective “center of attention.” It is the point of greatest attraction.
The upper half of a picture is a place of freedom, happiness, and power; objects placed in the top half also often feel more “spiritual.”
The bottom half of a picture feels more threatened, heavier, sadder, or constrained; objects placed in the bottom half also feel more grounded.
Regularity and irregularity—and their combinations—are powerful.
When we see similar shapes in a picture—or in life—we relate those shapes to each other: they seem to belong together.
White or light backgrounds feel safer to us than dark backgrounds because we can see well during the day and only poorly at night.
We associate the same or similar colors much more strongly than we associate the same or similar shapes.
somehow red excites us.
the larger the mass of color, the more our attention is drawn to it.
Color's effect on us is very strong—stronger than that of other picture elements.
We feel more scared looking at pointed shapes; we feel more secure or comforted looking at rounded shapes or curves.
Vertical shapes are more exciting and more active. Vertical shapes rebel against the earth’s gravity. They imply energy and a reaching toward the heights or the heavens.
Smooth, flat, horizontal shapes give us a sense of stability and calm.
We see shapes in context, and our reactions to them depend in large part on that context.
Diagonal shapes are dynamic because they imply motion or tension.
The larger an object is in a picture, the stronger it feels.
We feel more scared when we are little and an attacker is big, because we're less able to overcome the danger or control it physically.
Pictures that affect us strongly use structural principles based on the way we have to react in the real world in order to survive.
When we want a picture to feel scary, it is more effective to graphically exaggerate the scary aspects of the threat and of its environment than to represent them as close to photographic reality as possible, because this is the way we feel things look.
We see pictures as extensions of the real world.
Gravity is the strongest physical force that we're consciously aware of, and we're subject to it all the time.