Two characters join to create a new one. One character influences the sound of the word; the other influences its meaning.
Again, over time, some of these sound influences have blurred a bit, but they're usually pretty close.
Most characters in use today are these sound-plus-meaning compounds, or "pictophonics."
Here the interaction of the meanings of two characters combined produces the meaning of the new character.
When one written form had come to represent various meanings or spoken words, scholars would sometimes "reclarify" one of the meanings by adding some new part to show they meant one thing by writing the character and not another.