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Design Element: Hierarchy - How Signs Happen

Posted by Frank Murch | Apr 25, 2014 10:44:00 AM

Visual Hierarchy is the order in which the human eye perceives what it sees. This order is created by visual contrast between forms in a field of perception. Objects with the highest contrast are recognized first by the human eye. The term visual hierarchy is used most frequently in the visual arts field such as in graphic design.

your eyes here

The concept of visual hierarchy is based in the Gestalt Psychological Theory, a German theory that proposes that the human brain has innate organizing tendencies that structure individual elements, shapes or forms into a coherent whole. The German word Gestalt translates into “form”, “pattern” or “shape” in English. When an element in a visual field disconnects from the whole created by the brain, it stands out to the viewer creating contrast.

The brain disconnects objects from one another based upon the differences between their physical characteristics. These characteristics fall into four categories, which are all applied in graphic design, which are: color, size, alignment and character.

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Color: describes the hue, saturation, value and texture of forms or elements.

Size: describes the surface of a form.

Alignment: describes the arrangement of forms with respect to their direction, orientation, or pattern.

Character: describes the rectilinearity and curvilinearity of forms.

Graphic design is a field that specializes in visual organization. Designers attempt to control the visual hierarchy of elements in a design to get the message of the design out to a target market. To control the hierarchy of the design guides the eye to information in a specific order for a specific purpose.

The use of hierarchy in graphic design is mainly used in typographical elements or islands of information in a design such as a company name, a title, a phone number, a website, an email address, etc. Whatever it is that might be considered more important than other elements has to have a higher level of hierarchy than other elements in the design. This is what drives the target’s eye to read first what the designer wants them to read first.

If you can’t figure out what levels of hierarchy your design must follow, give Signs for San Diego a call and we will help your sign stand out from the rest. Let us help you get people to call you, visit you, Google you, like you, follow you, but most importantly, to buy from you, and do this by using the correct levels of hierarchy and incorporate them in your design.

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Topics: signs, Signs for Oceanside, Signs in Vista, signs for Carlsbad, signs for San Marcos, Signs for San Diego, oceanside, carlsbad, vista, Design, Graphic Design, Typography, Imagery, Color, Color Scheme, Hierarchy, Layout


Whether you need a channel letter set, a monument signs, ADA signs, wayfinding signs, lobby signs, or any other type of commercial building signage, we can help! Signs for San Diego is the best sign company for building signs.


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