Layers & Transparency

By Erika Goering,

  Filed under: KCAI, Read&Respond, VisCom1
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In the chaos of this week, it was good for me to just sit down and read for a moment. So, what did I read about? Well, graphic design, of course. Specifically the role that layers and transparency play in design.

In Graphic Design: The New Basics, Ellen Lupton writes about how layers can transform a composition. Layers added and removed can show the versatility of the work. Objects can be obscured or enhanced by objects on top of them, thus changing the way the composition looks and feels.

Lupton also talks about transparency and how it works. Transparency happens when you can see multiple layers at once through each other. This can create a window to the focal point.

Transparency and layers are related, because you don’t notice transparency in an object until it interacts with another object on a different plane.

So, I got to thinking, how can I apply my newfound insight to my current project?
Well, I haven’t quite gotten to the point of overlaying the type with the imagery yet (as I’m still refining that side of the project), but I’ve been playing with layers in other ways. My compound shapes are made up of layers that have been carefully composed to look dimensional and spatial. I also use layers to hide flaws and accentuate moments that work really well.

As far as transparency goes, even though I haven’t put my typography in front of my imagery yet, I’m still working with transparency with my dots. Some of my materials are transparent. I have some plastic sheets that I’m using for dots. They are very glossy and I only use them in very specific places. But sometimes they interact with other dots. And when they overlap, the colored plastic shows the image underneath, but in the hue of the plastic. This gives a whole new feel to the imagery.

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