Design elements can be analyzed individually by how you think they feel. When I was a senior in college, I went to an AIGA design portfolio review where some of the top local designers were there to critique student members’ work.
I stayed up until 3 am making sure everything was just right and that I could explain each design piece well. Once there (whoaaa was I nervous), I had a one-on-one sit down chat with a well-known woman in design, dressed to the 9’s with super trendy eyeglass frames on the tip of her nose.
She gave one of my poster design a thorough inspection and sat back, pointed to the title on the poster and said in the most open and neutral fashion, “How do you think this piece of type feels?” (strong emphasis on feels)
Before I responded, she interpreted the confused looked on my face. She said something in this essence (I’m paraphrasing as this was about 10 years ago!),
“Feeels. How do you think this type feels? Would it like being so close to the edge? Would it like kerning that is so tight? Would it like this drab gray? Design elements can be analyzed individually by how you think they feel. Would they like more room? More white space? A brighter color? Adjust your work accordingly.“
I took in all that she was saying… this was sort of life-changing advice to a new designer. How does each design element feel… … It’s true. This is advice I’ve used from that day forward.
Each design element in a composition must feel cohesive. They must agree with one another and feel like a “family”. The eye must move naturally from one part to the next in a natural progression.
How do they feel? Try it!