The Eight Compositional Devices are the foundation of graphic design. You can train your eye to notice how each one is composed and how one of the eight devices becomes the foundation of the design.
The graphic image above has a primary device of One Dominant which contains the eagles in the sky who are catching the air currents. A One Dominant device does not touch the edges but lies within the image. The artwork also contains other design relationships including a secondary compositional device. The elements in the pattern flowing around the One Dominant device are described in the Graphic Design Element Series.
Identify the Primary Device First
Essentially, each of the devices contains a primary and may also include a secondary. The next several posts in this series will explore all sixty-four device combinations! This is a fun series and explains how designs are composed.
Here is a list of the primary eight devices:
- One Dominant
- Two Dominant
- Negative Positive
A downloadable image illustrates each of these compositions.
Here is a slide show of examples of each so you can examine them in greater detail. Take the time to memorize each. They can become your foundation as you create.
- Look through old magazines that you don’t mind ripping out the pages. Identify at least three examples of each of the eight devices. Start a slush file which is a term used by artists. It’s a folder containing examples of ideas that you categorize of examples. The contents of the file serve as references for stimulating your imagination when you begin a new creative project.
- Play with your favorite art medium and illustrate an example of each of the eight. In this creative exercise, remember to keep it simple like the examples in the slide show.
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