This is part two of my eight-part series covering the basics of graphic design. (Catch up: Part 1 – Part 2 – Part 3 – Part 4 – Part 5 – Part 6Part 7)

Emphasis is defined as the special importance, value, or prominence that is given to something. In relation to design, this is the part that catches the viewer’s attention. Emphasis is usually done by creating contrast within the design. The emphasized element can be different in size, color, texture, shape, etc.

Emphasis creates hierarchy within the design, and gives the user a starting point. If you don’t have hierarchy within the design, the audience is lost and may not even begin to read your content. A simple mistake that many people make on their brochures or flyers is trying to emphasize everything. “They have to know the time! and the place! and the details! and our website!”  The problem with this scenario is that now TOO much is emphasized, and once again, your audience is lost.

Here are two pieces that I’ve done that show emphasis:

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