Everything is divided in to two main formats, well-structured and ill-structured, may that be a pencil, a hair dryer or a frying pan. Everything has its own set of standards and rules that have to be applied for the user to fully benefit from that product. It all comes down to how its designed, things defined as user friendly are only because of the value given to the customers feedback and keeping that in mind the design of the product is structured in a way to accommodate his needs as well as keeping in mind his comfort, thus in turn a well-structured product takes birth. With this note, everything in a frame, i.e. everything digital is also defined by the above criteria.
Let’s take a look on some of the basic elements of digital design that define a well-structured design:
By dot I don’t mean the typical full stop, remember we’re talking about digital only here. In the digital world a dot has many different faces, may that be the blinking light in your phone, notifying you that someone is trying to contact you and has just dropped a msg/call or it could be indicating your online/offline status. It can also represent the globe for some or even symbolize as a location tracker.
Lines are all around us just as dots, the first digital line that probably pops us in every head is the notification bar, following that task bars, line separators on different social sites, the address bar, the bookmarks bar all are lines or modified versions of them.
Design exists in everything but the most common in digital is probably ‘shape’. May that be an online symbol as a circle or app icons as squares. Shapes are what define everythings structure.
Remember those black and white pictures and movies?Even though black and white is still in fashion, nothing beats color and that’s what all digital is about. Different colors are associated with different things, like red for offline, green for online, blue for seen and so on. While designing, my favorite is ‘Adobe Color’
do explore it. Remember these?
Pictures are probably the most in thing since forever. As goes the quote, a picture is worth a thousand words. So much expression! Visual treat is always more welcomed and what better way to explain yourself than to show it.
So for typography one can probably write books and books and there still would be knowledge yet to spread, but for today let’s just go through very briefly the four most common formats found in the digital world.
a) Linear Typography
This format usually has continuous text without any breaks if not one or two, like in blogs, magazine etc.
b) Consultative Typography
When we consult the web for results in the form of words like hyper inks or tags.
c) Selective Typography
When we can directly access what we require instead of consulting a third party or link.
d) Differentiative Typography
When your text has multiple breaks and writing styles like in recipes.
Illustration and Animation
Illustration or animation is basically just another form of expression but in this case visually and in some cases with motion and sound as well. One of the most common place you’ll properly experience the visual essence of illustration and animation is the gaming world, although currently minimalist flat designs are very in. Every person has their own taste, some work with flat color, some prefer textures and some feel more expressive in 3D.
Talking about icons and not mentioning Susan Kare is a total no no. Susan Kare is said to be the pioneer of iconography. Started in 1983 while designing typefaces for Apple, designed several icons later on for Apple. Icons are little space saving signs/symbols easily understood in one glance, for direct communication.
Sound is one of the most basic form of communication, and all of the above mentioned elements would be completely dull without sound. There are different sounds for all, may you be retweeted on twitter or tagged on Facebook. Sound compliments all of them.
I’m sure by now even you have noticed many of the digital elements around you. Do share them in the comment box below!