Graphic Design Basics: Core Principles for Visual Design | Ellen Lupton | Skillshare

Graphic Design Basics: Core Principles for Visual Design

Ellen Lupton, Curator, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

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9 Videos (36m)
    • Introduction

    • Symmetry vs Asymmetry

    • Scale

    • Framing

    • Hierarchy

    • Grids

    • Demo: Bringing It All Together

    • Conclusion

    • Learn More with Ellen Lupton

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Project Description

Create a layout combining images and typography.


Put the core principles of graphic design to the test! Use InDesign, Photoshop, or even PowerPoint to arrange both text and image in a way that lets you practice using these 5 core principles of visual layout:

  • Symmetry & Asymmetry
  • Scale
  • Framing
  • Hierarchy
  • Grids

You can start a brand-new project or upload and improve something from your portfolio. Remember that your core challenge is to create a layout that is both engaging and effective. As a reader, is your eye drawn to the most important thing? How does the layout change if you make an important element bigger, smaller, or even move it to the side? Play with the principles to find the right fit!

Upload your project to the Project Gallery along with a few notes on your process! Consider sharing screengrabs, telling us about the principles you used, and adding a few thoughts on why you think it works. We can’t wait to see your projects!

Enroll by midnight EST October 15, 2016 for the chance to win one of 3 copies of Ellen and Jennifer's best-selling book, Graphic Design: The New Basics. Plus, get an extra entry when you submit a project to the Project Gallery! Winners will be notified via email.


What if I don't know InDesign or Photoshop?

Use any program you're comfortable with! PowerPoint or Google Slides is a great place to start. You can also browse Skillshare for classes on design programs, like….

I don't know what idea I should design about.

It's often easiest to start with photos! Flip through your camera roll for a recent event or trip. Anything that tells a story will help get you going.

I don't have text at hand, just photos.

Feel free to use placeholder text. You can copy and paste from Wikipedia, Gutenberg Project, or any other public domain site. Professional designers often use Lorem Ipsum Latin text as a placeholder, which you can download at





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