The process on turning ideas into reality

November 22nd 2018

Contrast and Meaning

Contrast and Meaning

Andy Rutledge briefly examines the fundamentals for conveying meaning.

Artistic Vocabulary:

These elements form the content of our communication.

  • line
  • form
  • color
  • texture

Artistic Grammar:

The building blocks of composition, and they help convey context and manipulate relationships among content elements.

  • contrast
  • balance
  • harmony
  • distribution


  • Design is largely an exercise in creating or suggesting contrasts, which are used to define hierarchy, manipulate certain widely understood relationships, and exploit context to enhance or redefine those relationships” all in an effort to convey meaning.

  • The primary forms of contrast include size, position, color, texture, shape, and orientation.

  • Humans habitually scan our surroundings. In doing this, we unconsciously look for elements of contrast, things that stand out from the forest of mundane elements, as part of our instinctive threat-detection process.