Studio 2 – Theoretical reasoning behind design


During this trimester, I have been trying to improve my photography skills and photography and compositional skills. This blog post is going to go in depth and take a look at all of the theories behind my theoretical techniques from design, illustration, and photography and how I put them to use within them.



Now this section is going to be talking about the photographic side of things. How i used rule of thirds, movement,  rhythm, etc. There are elements and principles to photography as well. The first one I will be talking about is one important aspect of photography, which is THE RULE OF THIRDS.


The rule of thirds

The rule of thirds is a grid based system which is used to divide the image using 2 vertical and 2 horizontal lines to seperate and measure your photograph correctly. You use the lines to put elements of the photograph on the grid and it will make the eye of the viewer lead to certain directions, it also adds asymmetry into picture by balancing the image.

Now I’m not saying that the rule of thirds is like the best technique and you should always use it, it actually has its flaws within it. There are many other techniques you can use, but the rules are made to be broken.



Photo from

Now how have I put this technique to use within my photography for this unit?  I will be showing the relationship of the rule of thirds within my photographs for the first assignment, which was based upon books. (I will add a grid to it to show you. I am also going to make a majority of the images black and white so they don’t distract you from the point)


As you can see in this image, I have placed half of her arm in the left side of the image, and the right side contains her chest. The face is somewhat in the top and bottom of the grid. The background is blurred and I did use ‘closure’ in photography which is a portrait style in this context.


This is the image I took and used for the assignment. It is one of my favourite photos I actually took. As you can see, I used the horizontal lines to emphasise the ground more than the sky, but the sky is still present. About 20-30% of the sky is. I wanted to emphasise the model and I did it a lot more with the colour and tone of how I edited it in later on. The vertical lines are on her forehead and the grass that I left in leads your eye directly back to her forehead.


In this photograph, I used the left vertical line to get the edge of her body on that point, and because there wasn’t an actual horizon to this image. I did break the rules a little but, but the rules are made to be broken.



In photography I also used photo retouching to adjust how the colour looked so that i could get my message out a lot more and have an emotional meaning within it. The tone and colour are important to it. There are many theories behind the colour theory in photos, design and how it affects the mood of people. (in my opinion it does)

You can use complimentary colour, warm, cool tones to create new feelings within your photographs (, 2016)

Here is an example of how i went about using colour to change the feeling within my photograph. The top image (unedited and raw photograph) was a simple image of the model lying on the ground on top of a book. The colours in this are quite dull and boring. I could do various options here, like bumping or saturating the colours in the image to make her pop, while changing colour balances, etc.

Bottom Image: With the photo retouching, I used photoshop and lightroom together mixed. Lightroom is where i did base value changing, colour changing. Then photoshop I did retouches on the face, the sky, colour, darkness, etc. With the image, I wanted a more cooler colour scheme to give an effect of harshness or coolness into the background; Yet I wanted her to stand out more than the background, so on her face I actually made the reds, yellows, oranges vibrant to give a sense of harmony within the image.

_MG_6416Anna lying down-1


POV is known as point of view. It can be used to emphasize a point or story within photography (which is very important to keep in photos). Having stories within photos make your images more interesting to look at.

POV is often associated with action shots, like GoPro photography or video, but POV can be used within professional photography to create appealing stories in design, to direct the eye or put the viewer in the eyes of the photographer. You can use hands on computers to do this, or hands on bike, rails, etc. You can have point of views where you are looking up into the sky at skyscrapers, focusing on them.


Getting down on the ground and looking straight ahead will change the scale of the scene, creating a new point of view. I was thrilled when I bought a camera with a swiveling LCD screen (a screen that’s not fixed and can change its position), as it got me shooting really low. You can find them on both point-and-shoot cameras and DSLRs — they’re one of my favorite features. (Rowlands)


Focusing on buildings from below can make the Buildings look much larger and gives them a perception of depth. Remember to think of photography as painting, or design. They have the same principles and design elements within them. How I utilized my POV this trimester, I was doing it as a test shot. The shot shows my hand reaching to the grass (wheat colour) and my hand leads to the continuous effort and continuous rhythm of the grass. The grass also has movement, and leads back to the hand in the photograph;




Proximity, Repetition, Harmony

In this trimester, I used a very interesting technique with the latest design and last assignment for the tri. In this design, there was Harmony, Proximity, and Repetition. These are all elements and principles of design.



connecting elements together in proximity, so that the design elements get a relationship between each other.  Proximity was used with the icon pattern, and these icons are connected to each other in all ways as a pattern. There is a strong relationship between them all. Colour was used to create interest in the design as well.



Repetition is the connection of elements which is association and consistency/similarities of the design. Repetition is used with the icons in the pattern style as it is a consistent piece of design. The design has many consistent elements and they are all connected and are vivid and found across all collateral in The West End Festival.



It is said that patterns and shapes are a way to create visual harmony when placed together. Harmony is what pulls individual pieces of an image together. The harmony of the design/pattern are found in the relationship of the proximity and repetition. The harmony is the connection each element icon which have a strong relationship to each other.


Contrast, movement, emphasis

This one is a very interesting design and has to be one of my favorite designs of the first assignment. The use of contrast in this design is amazing, and I’m absolutely in love with the design. Contrast is a principle of design that can be sued to emphasize certain points of a design. Contrast is important as such in design that it is used to make information stand out very much. The use of contrast compliments the layout of information within a layout sense.



In photography contrast can be used to detect viewers away from points in the photograph. When used in this illustration, I used it along with the well known ’emphasis’ which is a very important design aspect.  Contrast used in the design was the foreground elements very dark and black. The highlights are small details of the foreground which is a reflection of the fire that is in the background itself. When this contrast is mixed with the emphasis of the fire in the background it emphasizes the man sitting on the top of the book pile. The contrast is used to create a focus with the emphasis of the fire in the background.

The movement that is compiled within this illustration is found within the flames, that then leads to the type. It makes the illustration very strong and gets to the point, leading the viewer around the image continuously and then to the type up the top.





In conclusion you can see that I have used a lot of theoretical techniques to design in my designs and assignments, especially photography. There are a lot more elements and principles I used, especially in the first assignment. With the Illustrations, I used a lot of colour theory, and the famous ‘burn’ illustration holds a strong visual of balance, contrast, and space along with the subtle colour to pop the image and flames in the back. Another design with the importance of the theory of colour is the book with the little people on it. This utilizes colour harmonies, it implements the blue, orange, and red and they all work together in harmony.

It is important to research and try to implement these elements in your design before you start. If you know about them already, you can add them in subconsciously, but if you are a newbie to the design theory, you might need to research the elements and add them in individually to create a harmonious and successful design.

Here is a very interesting and strong PDF (which is short and gets to the point) with the 4 strong principles of design

Reynolds, G. (2016). The Big Four: Contrast, Repetition, Alignment, Proximity. [online] Available at: 


Reference (2016). Design Principles – Harmony. [online] Available at: 

John Lovett – Artist. (2016). Elements and Principles of Design. [online] Available at:

Gibson, A. (2010). 7 Ways to Create Powerful Photos with Colour. [online] Photo & Video Envato Tuts+. Available at:–photo-1090 

Reynolds, G. (2016). The Big Four: Contrast, Repetition, Alignment, Proximity. [online] Available at: (2016). Rule of Thirds | Photography Mad. [online] Available at: 

j6 design. (2016). The principles of design. [online] Available at: (2016). Visual Design: Using Color in Photography :: Digital Photo Secrets. [online] Available at:

Rowlands, Cheri. “Photography 101: Establishing A Point Of View”. The Daily Post. N.p., 2013. Web


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