Pretty Crucial

Photography in design is important. Even the prettiest box of Cracker Jacks, photographed without care, can be a mediocre sight. Slap up some white paper, throw in a light-things can still go wrong. The importance of composition in photography can not be neglected. For this reason, Iv’e chosen to roll out a few fundamental principles of pretty that deserve some respect in the mix. Proximity, continuity, scale, shape and form work together to create visual balance for the eye. An untrained eye will not be able to tell you why a poster will draw them in-but can pick a favorite, nevertheless. The art of creating visual media for the masses is broken down to a science. Attention to composition is absolutely integral when it comes to documenting anything.

I remember when we fisrt began to study form and composition, triangles in Photography 101 just did it for me. I became hypnotized when watching movies at the time. Frame by frame, I could see the ingredients to beautiful. In particular, I remember the Harry Potter scene when the kid took off with the magic broom in the courtyard-or in Black Hawk Down when the helicopter fell. Every shot was crafted, built, cropped-angles, visual continuity, movement, harmony everywhere. Not a single paused frame was neglected.

Design principles are imperative to our daily. Due to the eye’s tendency towards gestalt theory, a sound composition is a visual magnet. We use them to sell, show, teach, seduce, inform, indulge-communicate. This is why we can not forget to create with care. You’ve got x amount of seconds to communicate to eyes, brains across America through a movie and youv’e got an hour and a half to do so; this is why people want to look at movies, because they visually hand craft those frames with love and it shows. You have 30 seconds to create a tv spot that people will not walk away from; what words do you choose to put on the screen? After all, isn’t filming in any form, just a record of information hierarchy? You have .5 seconds before someone decides to click on another webpage, use that giant image for your home page and they are gone. You have photographs to send to your boss, send careless pics and your efforts become wasted. You have to photograph work that represents your team, what are you going to put in your square-your lens, your L7 weenie fingers-what do you say if you neglect composition?

We are creators of visual anthropology. Let us tend to our responsibilities and mind our principles. It’s not about being pretty, it’s about communicating effectively. Photography plays a huge role in design. Recognition is crucial.

By Jessica Rios-Almanza
Published January 3, 2012
AIGA encourages thoughtful, responsible discourse. Please add comments judiciously, and refrain from maligning any individual, institution or body of work. Read our policy on commenting.