When examining any graphic design, you will find that some objects have thicker colors giving the impression of being heavier than objects with lighter colors. Visual weight is one of the most effective and simplest tools that a graphic designer can utilize to develop visual hierarchy, balance, symmetry and harmony. Visual weight, when applied strategically, can be proficiently used to capture the visitor’s attention.
Let us make delve deeper into what visual design really is with Graphic Design India and enumerate its factors:
Visual Weight: It’s concepts
Visual weight is a concept derived from the idea that different components of the design possesses varying weights that make them distinct from one another. One of the obvious factors affecting it is of course, the size of the elements.
Some elements in the design naturally appears heavier when they have a shape bigger than the others. But visual weight can also be achieved exclusively from the coloring. Certain colors appear heavier than others.
For instance, black appears heavier than, say, white or yellow. The same color can be made heavier by making it thicker. For instance, the color green can appear light and heavy depending on the thickness used by the graphic design professional.
Visual weight is directly linked to symmetry. To achieve balance and symmetry in designs, the objects must be made to appear the same in their weight. And to emphasize certain objects in the design, it is best to remove balance and develop a hierarchy that will shift the viewer’s focus to the intended location.
The primary factors that affect visual weight are:
Color plays a significant role in design. A design without color is unthinkable. Sometimes a design may carry plain black and white colors or be wholly grey. This is not lack of color as many might tend to think. It is purposely done to let the design speak for itself through the colors used.
Color possesses numerous properties that determines the visual weight of an object over others like brightness/darkness, hue and saturation. Co lours can make us feel the weight of objects quite instinctively. Some colors also possess visual weight than others. For instance, saturated colors appear heavier and are likely to attract more attention than unsaturated colors. Similarly a color rendered darker will carry more weight than its lighter counterpart.
Hue is the property of color that has diverse visual weight. Even when two colors are saturated fully and given equal weight, they can still appear to possess disparate visual weights.
Besides hue, color has several other properties that adds or deducts the visual weight of objects. For example, blue is heavier to desaturated orange or yellow and is likely to attract better attention. Shapes bigger in size and with more vibrant colors will carry more weight.
Some of the colors that generally possess assorted visual weights are listed below from heaviest to lightest:
a) Yellow (lightest)
e) Red (heaviest)
Contrast plays a major role in design and can significantly aid in rendering certain elements more prominent than others. It is obvious that objects with more contrast appear to have more weight and contrasting elements in varying quantity can create visual hierarchy.
Darkness and lightness are effective tools for balancing the designs. It is but obvious that components with darker colors appear to carry more weight than the lighter ones.
Size is one of the most important factors affecting visual weight. By nature, bigger objects (for that matter, anything that consume more space) appear heavier to smaller objects even if they are of the same type. Giving a bigger shape to a component that the designer wants to be the focal-point is the easiest and most effective way of capturing attention.
E) PROPORTION AND DENSITY
Another natural way of increasing visual weight is by making the design denser than its counterparts. This can be achieved in a graphic design by reducing unused space (white-space) between objects. But it is to be noted that more white-space around an object can capture more attention than the colored component that you actually intend to make the center of attention. Here comes the need to exercise your artistic sense of proportion and symmetry.
Another novel and creative way to make a component seem heavier is to embellish it with complex patterns and shapes. This will ensure that it is visually heavier than those with plainer and simpler shapes. Since elements with complex patterns consume more time to decipher or read it, it is an effective way to capture the attention of the viewer for a longer time-period. Visual complexity in design can arise from the texture of a surface, photographic images, and a series of similar patterns.