Back to Basics #5: Contrast

Opposing elements that contradict and enhance one another can create intense forces, manifesting a tangible tension within. Allowing the design itself to come alive with palpable energy, the pairing of opposites generates an inherent push and pull, impacting both perception of the design and associated experiences.

Take a look at the below examples which have harnessed the power of this design staple. How do the respective contrasting elements alter your mood, perception, or memory of the design?

Examples of Contrast in Architecture and Design

Image compiled by GPI Design. Individual image credits: URDesign, ArchDaily, DesignMilk, ArchDaily, Contemporist, ArchDaily, PhotoShelter, Dezeen


Submersed in creation day in and day out, it’s easy to become immune to the fundamental concepts at the core of design. Becoming so ingrained in our being, their simple existence registers involuntarily – like we’re running on auto-pilot – and we can overlook their individual relevance in the visual realization of an idea. Overexposure seems to dull our sensitivity.

But considering how impactful these (often unsung) basic theories are to design, we’ve decided to go “back to the basics”. In this blog mini-series, we highlight a fundamental design theory and showcase just how important and formative that concept is in shaping the final perception of a design.

Recap of prior “Back to the Basics” posts:

Stay tuned for the next and final concept at the beginning of August!