selection principle

Selection Principle in Graphic Design


This week I learned about the selection principle in relation to graphic design.  Lohr (2008) states that a graphic should be concise, concentrated, and concrete to maximize selection.  Additionally, the designer should consider the “figure”, or what the learner will pay attention to, and the “ground”, or what the learner will not pay attention to when designing a graphic.

My justification below highlights how I considered the three “C’s” when designing the above graphic.

Justification of Selection-Considered Design

  1. Describe your users (people that will see the typography in the unit).

The users of my unit will be educators, either undergraduate or graduate level, that are learning the Community of Inquiry (COI) Framework in relation to online course design.  It is assumed that they are adults with at least one student experience in online education.  The users would be capable of reading college-level material.

      2. Why does your design solution work?

Concise: I reduced the amount of visual information by keeping fonts and colors basic.  I had originally designed the graphic with a gray background and a black silhouette which caused problems with figure and ground by drawing the attention to the silhouette instead of the words inside the graphic.  The switch to a plain white background and a light gray silhouette helped solve the problem.

Concentrated:  I kept the information in the graphic to the key terms only, instead of defining what each word means.  The definitions of the terms will come in the instruction instead.  This graphic is meant to be a “quick look”, so being concise was necessary.  Additionally, only a silhouette was used in a non-attention grabbing color with the words written inside of the oval where the brain would be.

Concrete: The use of the graphic showing the words inside the brain makes it apparent that the words relate to the brain as a whole.

3.  What did you learn from the “user-test”?

My user-test was performed on the same individual from last week’s assignment.  He helped me determine that the random placements of the words inside the brain made it difficult to read the words, and he suggested I align the words in the way you now see in the graphic.

4.  What changes did you make to the design after the user-test?

I changed the word placement and alignment.  I also tested the black versus gray silhouette just to see figure/ground in action, and we determined the gray silhouette was needed to reduce where the learner’s attention is drawn.



Lohr, L. (2008). Creating graphics for learning and performance (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle                    River, NJ: Pearson Education