Week 2.0: Oh CRAP…

Source: oldredjalopy

No. It’s not what you think it is, I didn’t have a crappy day or anything like that. We’re talking about the 4 design principles that encompass this acronym: Contrast, Repetition, Alignment, and Proximity. What does each one mean?

Well, let’s start with contrast. This could mean the contrast of colours used in a design, the size of fonts used or the type. In this poster of the film Oldboy, the black and white scheme make the main character in the red, pop. Also, the size contrast of the font emphasises the title being bigger and in the fore-front. Although I am explaining only one concept, this poster has a great sense of alignment and proximity.

Moonrise Kingdom Poster by Sam Larson
Source: Sam Larson

On the other hand, this poster of the beloved Wes Anderson film, Moonrise Kingdom, is a great example of the repetition element. The identical components such as the scout tents give the design a sense of cohesion and order. Whether you have seen the film or not, the last tent is a simple homage to the main protagonist’s storyline.  Repetition is used in design to give the art cohesiveness. In other words, repetition equals consistency. This consistency could lie in the font that is used to the colour scheme.


Still from USA Network's "Mr. Robot" Source: leonterra.com
Still from USA Network’s “Mr. Robot” Source: leonterra.com

Graphic design doesn’t just lie in digital art such as posters, motion graphics and album covers. The principles of CRAP also apply in the world of film, more specifically, cinematography. The television drama, Mr. Robot, is the definition of alignment. In this particular still, the composition of the shot is centered and split down the middle like a mirror image. This mirroring effect symbolizes a dilemma that the main character (right) faces. The dilemma being a voice inside his head. In this case, the mirroring and central alignment of the shot offer great visual storytelling. Mr. Robot is visually stunning and if you want to see more, here’s a great video explaining its reasons for their unconventional cinematography.

The final piece of the CRAP design theory is proximity. The goal of this concept is to make the visual experience as stress-free as possible. That means, no clutter. That means, placing related objects together rather than apart. This photo comparison of the Adidas logo shows proximity in action. Bad proximity would result in the logo on the left. There is absolutely no cohesion and the poor spacing eliminates any visual unity that the original logo possessed.


With all these design concepts in mind, this week’s lecture was anything but crappy.




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