I call it ”Center of Attention”. Others call it ”Emphasis”, or ”Dominance.” Whatever it is you call it, it is that special quality that effortlessly communicates the reason for a design. It is that which jumps at you without anyone having to point it out to you. By creating a center of attention in your work you reveal what’s most important in your design and show people were to look at first. From there you can create a secondary element to guide your viewer where to look next.
Center of Attention as the point of focus, or interruption marks the locations in a composition which most strongly draw the viewers attention. Every design should have a primary area of interest or focal point that serves as a way into the design. Usually there is a primary, or main, point of emphasis, with perhaps secondary emphasis in other parts of the composition. The emphasis is usually an interruption in the fundamental pattern or movement of the viewers eye through the composition, or a break in the rhythm.
Center of attention is a design principle that always saves the day whenever you need to cramp a lot into a limited space or composition. When used creatively, you will be saved from having a design that is too busy or cluttered. Use emphasis to call attention to something, or to vary the composition in order to hold the viewers interest by providing visual “surprises.”
”Make everything bigger” is a common refrain from some people. This is made out of the misconception that the bigger the elements, the more effective the design. However, they cannot be more far off from the truth – increasing the size of all elements in design results in visual unrest – you do not know where to look. Your eyes keep on dancing from one element to the other without resting fully on any. There are several techniques used to emphasize the most important object on a page.
Repetition creates emphasis by calling attention to the repeated element through sheer force of numbers. If a certain color is repeated across a map, the places where the color cluster will attract your attention.
Contrast achieves emphasis by setting the point of emphasis apart from the rest of its background. Various kinds of contrasts are possible. The use of a neutral background e.g loads of white space around an object or element directs attention to the object. Contrast in color, size, scale, texture, or shape will call attention to a specific point.
Placement in a strategic position will call attention to a particular element of a design.
So, when next you have anything to design (website, call card, packaging, brochure, store, signage etc ), creatively emphasize only the important things using either repetition, contrast or strategic positioning. Your final result will be better for it.