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8 Types of Layout

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Layout, or composition, is the arrangement of the elements of a design. It is a creative process both for visual and physical designs. Composition is considered key to a wide variety of pursuits including graphic design, information design, visual arts, writing and architecture. The following are common layout considerations:

1. Unity vs Variety

Unity is a design that sets rules of sameness for design elements such as a common structure or look and feel. It is an easy approach to making something look consistent and organized. Variety is the opposite approach that embraces diversity of structure and appearance in a design that's typically a far more challenging technique.

2. Symmetry vs Asymmetry

Symmetry is a design that uses symmetrical shapes and forms such as rectangles. Symmetrical shapes give a balanced and organized appearance to a design. The use of asymmetrical shapes is typically considered a more advanced approach that can be aesthetically appealing and unique.

3. Hierarchy vs Flat

A hierarchy is a classification scheme that divides things into a tree structure with branches. The opposite approach is a flat structure that keeps classification and structure to a minimum.

4. Similarity vs Contrast

Similarity between elements can be used to give a design a comfortable rhythm. Contrast is used to highlight something, direct the eye or make something more visually stimulating.

5. Filled vs Empty

Space, often referred to as negative space, is the use of emptiness in a design. In the case of architecture, space includes the functional areas where people live and work. In a visual design, space is used for aesthetics and to make elements more visible and distinct.

6. Stability vs Variability

Stability is a static, predicable and established approach to a design that is generally comfortable and easy to learn. A variable design includes things like contextual information, movement or predictive functions that are harder to learn, less comfortable but more powerful.

7. Mechanical vs Organic

A mechanical design uses shapes and forms that can be drawn with a ruler or compass. An organic design looks hand drawn or natural.

8. Static vs Dynamic

Adaptability is a measure of how well a design handles change on a scale from static to dynamic. For example, a static webpage is designed to display specific information while a dynamic webpage may be capable of handling diverse media and information from a variety of sources.


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