The Force has awakened and with it, the enthusiasm of Star Wars fans old and new. Star Wars: The Force Awakens already pulled in a record-breaking $6.5 million for presale tickets alone. Star Wars is a franchise that people are happy to return to over and over again.
What enables a franchise to build such a loyal fanbase? What makes a movie beloved for decades? Certainly the timelessness of the story, the likeable characters, and the believable world-building. But on a technical level, a good movie must continue to function as a vehicle for storytelling even as time passes and technology advances.
There are certain elements of design that are still essential today: depth, contrast, negative space, perspective, symmetry, directional cues and repetition. These elements apply to both moving and static design, digital and print. These elements make design interesting, aesthetically pleasing and effectively communicative of the design’s concept.
For example, take symmetry. A symmetrical design lends to the effect of order, calm, and things being right. An asymmetrical design, on the other hand, lends to the effect of thing being off-kilter, uncontrolled, and confusing.
Or take repetition: elements repeated over and over again to enforce an idea or, conversely, to create the sense of a larger body of things drowning out the others. Repetition can apply to both visual design or textual content structure.
Articles have been written about what content marketers can learn from Star Wars in terms of textual content, but content marketers and creators can also learn from the movies’ visual design as well. Along with special effects that were, at the time, groundbreaking, the original Star Wars trilogy make expert use of these seven fundamental principles of design. These are elements that content creators should be mindful of if they want their visual content to garner backlinks, shares and love from their audience.
Despite the special effects being outdated, the original Star Wars trilogy still feels epic. The scenes that take place in outer space are still exciting and the ships are still impressive. A big part of what enables the ships to loom so large, and the Death Star to appear so imposing, are the use of design principles like perspective and contrast.
For example, this movie still from episode Episode IV contrasts the enormity of the Death Star with the much smaller Millennium Falcon and two X-wing Starfighters. The juxtaposition between the Death Star and the other ships creates the effect of the Death Star’s menacing size. What’s more, the shared perspective between the viewer and the Millennium Falcon, with the camera speeding forward, puts us in the position of the heroes. Viewers are rooting for the heroes and are included in the process through the shared perspective.
Content marketers want to create content that connects with their audience. Just as content marketers should put themselves in their perspective of their audiences, so their visual content and infographic design should engage audiences from their viewer perspective. Take, for example, Apple’s “Misunderstood” commercial. The commercial positions the viewer from the point of view of the young boy who makes the film for his family. Viewers feel a strong emotional pull to the commercial and, by association, Apple.
These principles of design can also apply to static visual content like posters or infographics. A visually interesting design will capture the attention of viewers, while a cluttered or poorly balanced design will likely cause them to overlook your content.
Take, for example, the infographic below about the 7 fundamental principles of design that the original Star Wars trilogy employs. This infographic, originally published on the Venngage blog, has garnered over 800 shares. Aside from the popular subject matter, the infographic also makes great use of the principle of negative space surrounding the text and images, contrast between the dark background and the brightly colored images and white text, and repetition of the same layout format throughout the entire infographic.
You want your awesome and creative ideas to be backed up by a solid design. Be mindful of these fundamental design principles when creating your visual content to bring people back to your content time and time again.