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In this lesson, you will learn about the Emphasis principle.

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Source: Image of Insects on flower, Creative Commons Image of Nighthawks, Creative Commons Image of Concert, Creative Commons

Video Transcription

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Hi everyone, my name is Mario. And I'd like to welcome you to today's lesson, which is going to be on emphasis. So we'll discuss why emphasis is important in design. And then showcase a few examples of it in practice. So feel free as always to stop, fast forward, and rewind as you see fit. And when you're ready to go, let's jump in.

So we'll begin by defining emphasis. And emphasis is the most prominent element or focal area in a design. So emphasis is going to be a guide for the designer to apply a focal point or area of interest for the viewer. And this is going to be important because it will allow the designer to effectively convey a message or an idea by dictating where the viewer's eye should go.

So I previously mentioned that the design principles are interdependent, which is another way of saying that each principle is mutually dependent on another. And emphasis can be established by using two of the principles, like contrast and proximity.

So in this example, contrast is being used to effectively create an area of interest. The dark silhouettes of the insects on top of the flower are clearly separated by using a lighter blurry background. And likewise in this second example, which is one of my favorites, is called Nighthawks by Edward Hopper. And it uses proximity to distinguish between the couple having a conversation with the waiter and the man dining by himself.

So proximity not only creates a point of interest inside the diner, but it also creates additional focal points by grouping different elements together and creating emphasis in the piece. So you have emphasis on the interior of the diner. And then you also have emphasis on the man dining by himself, or the couple having a nice chat with the waiter there.

So here's the final example of proximity and contrast in practice. And sort of more of every day real life. And I think this is Britney Spears, I'm not really sure. But either way, even though this is just a photo of the event, you can see that they clearly used lighting in a very specific manner that resulted in high contrast.

And the image, you can see it clearly separates the singer from the foreground and the background elements. Plus it uses proximity to leverage her status and importance. So this again, comes together to effectively create emphasis on the singer and not the crowd or any other element in either the foreground or background. So pretty interesting use of all these principles.

So that actually wraps up this quick lesson on emphasis. I want to end again with our key word of the day, which was emphasis. Next time you're looking at labels, ads, or magazines, or commercials on TV, keep in mind the practices being used to emphasize design, idea, or message. So my name is Mario. I hope you've enjoyed this lesson with me. And I'll see you next lesson.

Terms to Know

Emphasis is the most prominent element or focal area in a design.