Ten principles of graphic design

Summarized version, as a decalogue.

Norberto Chaves Barcelona
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1. Conventionality

The sign must be configured according to some combination of culturally active graphic codes. The concept of “new graphic languages” is absurd: if a language is new, it is not understandable.

2. Occurrence

Occurrence compensates conventionality by giving relevance to the message. However, the level of atypicalness required isn't always the maximum possible. Each case require a different level of occurrence.

3. Effectiveness

The sign must fulfill, at least, all the functions it has been created for. Values, such as aesthetics, cannot subordinate the effectiveness of the graphic communique and can, instead, empower it.

4. Property

The sign must be inscribed in the sender's identity paradigm. The signature is not enough: the communique itself must identify the sender. Identity isn't about talking about the sender, it's about talking like the sender.

5. Respect

As it occurs with the sender, graphic must be adjust to and respect the receiver's codes. It speaks for him, so he can understand.

6. Pertinence

The sign must be adjusted to the registry of the communicational link established between sender and receiver. Only knowing that link it is possible to establish the proper tone for each occasion.

7. Density

Between what's empty and what's full there must be a relation of meaning. The sign must be saturated, that is, lacking of zones deprived of meaning. If when eliminating an element nothing is lost, is because that element was unnecessary.

8. Economy

Wasting is communicationally negative. The sign must not contain superfluous redundancy or graphic excess. 

9. Transparence

The sign must lack parasitary significations that operate as noise to its specific message.

10. Anonymity

The sign must be autonomous, reference-free in regards of its production process or its author. The sign isn't its production process' story: it belongs to the sender and its creation must become invisible.

Translated by Joel Alejandro Villarreal Bertoldi Córdoba
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This article does not express the opinion of the editors and managers of FOROALFA, who assume no responsibility for its authorship and nature. To republish, except as specifically indicated, please request permission to author. Given the gratuity of this site and the hyper textual condition of the Web, we will be grateful if you avoid reproducing this article on other websites. Published on 15/04/2015.

Norberto Chaves

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Nicole Garzón
One year ago

Very clever article and way to summarize design principles. Itʼs very important as a designer to know this stuff because it helps us in our daily work. Not everyone understands the concept of graphic design and what it implies which is a problem nowadays. Maybe this principles will help not just designers but every creative.

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Rodrigo Rico
Apr 2015

The concept of «new graphic languages» is absurd: if a language is new, it is not understandable.

Ojalá las personas encargadas de cuentas cuando quieren parecer "creativas" leyeran este y entendieran este artículo...

No todos son así, pero si es una generalidad.

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Dragica Petrović
Apr 2015

very, very smart ~

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