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Less is More

cropping assignment

by JuliannaKunstler.com

Less is More is a graphic design technique when the image is suggested rather than directly depicted.

This reductive approach is a powerful technique that a graphic designer can employ, inviting the viewing audience to interact with the artwork by mentally completing the implied image.

This problem is a six-part assignment taking the designer through various stages useful in creating such an image.

Select 3 images:

  • an animal
  • a mechanical object
  • a plant

Using black and white only, you are going to design it in its entirety by simplifying its physical characteristics into flat negative and positive shapes.

All images should be a very good quality. When lookig for images - check LARGE IMAGES options in your search options.

Work with one image at a time. This assignment is all about cropping and looking for attractive solutions in your design.

You will do a 3-step cropping:

  1. cropped to best represent the object
  2. mostly cropped
  3. abstract



Start with opening an image in Photoshop

Convert the image into black and white by selecting Image > Adjustments > Desaturate

This will remove all colos from a picture

Next: remove all values leaving just BLACK and WHITE shapes.

Imahe > Adjustments > Threshold

Adjust the Threshold slider to select a good balance of white and black.

Image should stay recognizable.

Your Threshold Level value will be different from mine.

Next is cropping!!!

Select CROP tool in the Tool Box

Select an area that represents object the best


You can select any part, resize the Crop box or rotate it.

Hit Return (Enter) to apply changes.

File > Save As

Save it as image_1.jpg

Use the Crop tool again.

This time the area should be smaller, more abstract, but still you should be able to recognize the object.

Retain object's readability.


Save As image_2.jpg

Drastically crop the design you created in previous step, to the point where reconizability is no longer a factor – abstract shapes are the main concern.

This time the image should be completely abstract.

File > Save As image_3.jpg

Execute the design you created in reverse-field – all black areas become white, all white areas become black, for both subject and background.

Swich black and white shapes by Image > Adjustments > Invert

File > Save As image _4.jpg

Compare image 3 and image 4

Which one do you like better?

Keep open the one that you like the most.

You are going to select all white areas now.

Select "Magic Wand" tool in the Tool box. Make sure "Contiguous" option is unchecked

Click on a white area.

This will select all white pixels in the image.

You are going to replace white color with a color of your choice.

Open Swatches palette. Pick a color you like. Then apply this color to the selected area:

Edit > Fill

Use Foreground Color

You can experiment with colors.

File > Save As image_5.jpg

Now you can use multiple colors. Apply a new color to the selected area (former white area).

Select black shapes by going to the Menu bar:

Select > Inverse

Choose another color (use a color wheel and color schemes to help you deside). Complimentary colors work great for this exercise, but others will work too.

File > Save As image _6.jpg

Put all the steps together using InDesign tutorial.

Repeat the steps with the other two images.



image 1

image 2

image 3

image 4

image 5

image 6

mechanical object


image 1

image 2

image 3

image 4

image 5

image 6



image 1

image 2

image 3

image 4

image 5

image 6