For the past 10 years, The Communicator has been the voice of V&A. Columns from team members, industry experts and those who understand the importance and impact of great strategic communications have contributed to this online editorial.

As we always say, the advice is always free, it is what you do with it that counts!


Elizabeth Lynch grew up in Window Rock, Arizona, on the Navajo Reservation and attended New Mexico Highlands University in Las Vegas, New Mexico. After receiving a Bachelor of Fine Art degree in media arts with a focus in visual communication, she joined her brother in Oklahoma City to pursue a career in graphic design.


Elizabeth is an AmeriCorps alumna and has interned for museums in Santa Fe, New Mexico, providing design, photography and video services. Prior to joining V&A she worked for a non-profit Christian school in New Mexico as a graphic designer and advancement assistant.


She enjoys all things creative, literature, art, music and food. If she’s not in a bookshop you’ll usually find her out in the city chowing down some ramen. She loves to travel, and has a collection of postcards from every city she’s been to.


Elizabeth Lynch, Designer

Let’s talk about design basics. I’ve found that clients and those seeking out design services may be  unsure of what they should be looking for in valuable and skilled design. A good place to start is familiarizing yourself with design theory and vocabulary. I know when explaining to family or friends about certain projects I’m working on or discussing with clients about potential designs, I tend to use design lingo which can result with confusion at first. These principles include pattern, contrast, emphasis, balance, scale, harmony, rhythm/movement, unity and variety. Below are the concepts broken down to give insight into design processes and techniques.


  1. Pattern: Simply put, pattern is repetition, and in design it’s the repetition of elements such as shape, texture, color or form. Patterns please the eye because there is a sense of structure and rhythm. Our brain subconsciously recognizes the math within the structure of pattern and gives us a sense of ease knowing that pattern can be defined and recognized easily.

  2. Contrast: A comparison of different elements through color, shape or size in a composition that helps to give visual interest or movement for a focal point.

  3. Emphasis: Like contrast, there is special attention given to an element that can be achieved using contrast and other principles in design.

  4. Balance: The arrangement of elements in a composition that are symmetrical or asymmetrical in placement that can create impressions of weight or importance.

  5. Scale: The relationship between objects in size, or number which can also include the relation between parts of a whole.

  6. Harmony: The arrangement of several elements in one composition that show the viewer all elements make up the whole of the composition.

  7. Rhythm/Movement: The use of recurring elements like pattern, but to create the sense of movement to direct the viewers eyes to lead to a focal area.

  8. Unity: Much like harmony, unity is parts of a composition that are connected using other design principles to make a whole.

  9. Variety: Using different design elements to create visual interest.