#MIX09: Design fundamentals for developers (2)

MIX, Technical stuff, Work
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Talks about Gestalt (shape), Swiss design in the 1950’s, Bauhaus. Then moves on to shapes, color, contrasts. Visual language.

A page is governed by a number of visual elements.

“Figure / Ground”

Background vs Message you want to show. The Ground is usually ignored while the Figure is observed. Make the Ground solid to reinforce the Figure.

The Ground can be overwhelming the Figure, which gives a sense of confusion.


Visual effects used to create a link to the user. Feels like we’re in an inside joke. Playing with shapes to suggest something else (for example a code bare morphs into an umbrella, elements are placed to suggest 3D…)


  1. Yes space can be wasted
  2. Empty space is not (necessarily) wasted space

“The ultimate wasted space is overfilled space” Alex White

  • Feeling of quality
  • Legibility
  • Order and structure
  • Create interest
  • Don’t overdo it (but don’t underdo it either)

Active space (Movement) vs Passive space (more “boxes”)

Active space is great for logos. They draw attention and make the observer go into the picture.

Unfortunately I had to stop following Robby’s excellent workshop at this point, and go prepare the one that I was co hosting. But it seems that Robby’s workshop was filmed and I hope you can all download the video. It was really interesting!

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