Dominance relates to varying degrees of emphasis in design. It determines the visual weight of a composition, establishes space and perspective, and often resolves where the eye goes first when looking at a design. There are three stages of dominance, each relating to the weight of a particular object within a composition.
- Dominant: The object given the most visual weight, the element of primary emphasis that advances to the foreground in the composition.
- Sub-dominant: The element of secondary emphasis, the elements in the middle ground of the composition.
- Subordinate: The object given the least visual weight, the element of tertiary emphasis that recedes to the background of the composition.
I created this layout to demonstrate Dominance in scrapbook design.
The Dominant object is my photo. Other than the paper that frames it, it is the largest object on my page. If I had used a smaller 4 x 6 photo the eye would not know where to rest first and the page would feel disorganized.
Hope you've enjoyed this lesson in design today!
The Sub Dominant object is the "M" title. I kept it a light color so it wouldn't compete with the photo and it is visually smaller than the photo as well. Being in the foreground of the cluster of embellishments brings it forward for the eye to go to after the photo. I also placed it a little below and to the side of the photo to keep it unifed with the photo. If I had just placed it randomly on the page, it would not have the dominant weight and again, the page would feel disorganized.
The Subordinate element of my page is the little journaling tag. Visually, it's tied to the green glimmer misted bingo card, but it is also in the foreground of the page, so the eye rests on it third, creating the pleasing visual triangle of good design.