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Graphic Design Lessons - Composition Techniques 7


The 3 Cs of Graphic Design: (Components + Composition = Concept)


Graphic Design Composition Techniques 7

In these lessons we use the 3 Cs of Graphic Design to generate some graphic ideas. Each of our lessons starts with a font symbol (component) which is explored through an assortment of techniques (composition) to form a graphic idea (concept). In this lesson a font symbol of a lightbulb serves as our component.

Take a 'Light' Hearted Approach




Cartoon characterisation is an obvious way to develop this symbol as the light bulb suggests the shape of a head. A combination of our bulb and smiley face symbols gives the image a cheerful personality.

A variation on the theme adds some humour to the idea with a light bulb hairdo that could be used to suggest a product range.

Overlapping Images


Overlapping Transparent Images


Simply overlapping our light bulb image not only creates a harmonious visual effect with its use of transparent colors but also says something about the nature of the object.

Find that Spark of Inspiration

A Spark of Inspiration

The technique of overlapping images can create designs with layers of meaning. The natural brightness of our light bulb ignited a 'spark of inspiration' which was framed by a hexagon whose shape suggested the outline of a box. This inspired the development of a logo for a graphic design company called 'Lightbox Design' (a lightbox is a tracing frame used by graphic designers).


Develop your Idea


Developing the Idea


Once you get the basic idea for a design, you need to refine and develop the concept to maximise its communication and impact. To this end, a grey backdrop was added to increase the brightness of the image while the jagged 'Matisse' font was used to echo the sharp points of the spark.


Refine your Idea


Refining the Idea


Next, graduated tone was used to generate the form of the bulb and to suggest the glow of light. The outlines of the lightbox and light bulb were changed from black to white to brighten their images, while the outline of the font was substituted by a drop shadow to lighten its weight.


Reach a Solution

Reaching a Solution

Finally, color was applied to the design making the backdrop redundant. Two tones of blue were used to represent the transparency of glass (a material common to both the light bulb and the light box) while a counterchange of red and yellow (fire colors) was used to illuminate the spark of inspiration. The colors of the typography were borrowed from the image to unify the design.

Graphic Design Components

The font symbols below were chosen for their simplicity as components. Click on each symbol to explore a range of composition techniques that you can adapt to create your own ideas.

Graphic Design Lesson Resources


Graphic Design Lesson Resources

Download our free Resource Sheets

Once you have studied our composition techniques you can find more symbols in our free Resource Sheets that you may download, print and use to develop your own ideas.