Best Principles Of Design16 min read

Best Principles Of Design – Easy Guide

The principles of design are the rules a designer must follow to create an effective and attractive composition. The fundamental principles of design are Emphasis, Balance and Alignment, Contrast, Repetition, Proportion, Movement and White Space.

Design differs from art in that it has to have a purpose. Visually, this functionality is interpreted by making sure an image has a center of attention, a point of focus. Maybe you’re thinking, ‘But wait! I thought design was all about creativity?’ If you’re an entrepreneur or designer who’s just starting out, you might be tempted to go wild and combine the first five typefaces and colors that catch your eye, believing you’re creating something fresh and new. You will probably find yourself with a design that is muddled, unfinished, or well, just plain ugly.

Graphic design, like any discipline, adheres to strict rules that work beneath the surface to make the work stable and balanced. If the work is missing that balance, it will be weak and ineffective.

For example, if you search for “principles of design,” Google will return results for articles that include anywhere from five to more than a dozen different principles. It is worth noting, however, that even those articles that agree on the number do not necessarily agree on which ones should be included in it.

However, there are roughly a dozen fundamental design principles that both beginning and experienced designers should keep in mind when working on their projects, and these are listed below. In addition, there are another dozen or so “secondary” design principles that are sometimes incorporated into the basic design principles list (for example, the Gestalt Principles, typography, color, and framing). The most important design principles are explained and illustrated in the following section.

 

Unity

Everyone has come across a website or other design that appeared to have been thrown together with little thought given to how the elements worked together as a whole. Almost immediately, images of newspaper advertisements with ten different fonts come to mind.

Unity is a force operating within a design that gives the appearance of oneness or resolution to the overall composition. This ensures that no single component is more important than the others…. Alex White, author of The Elements of Graphic Design, explains that the primary goal of graphic design is to achieve visual unity. A design is considered unified when all of its elements are in sync with one another.”

A powerful way to bring a brand concept to life is to incorporate design elements into your work and apply unity to your work. Consider the case of a sports brand such as Nike or Reebok that is running an aggressive “in your face” campaign. For example, they might use large, bold typefaces, vibrant colors, and highly stylized imagery to convey intense training emotions. As an alternative, a company like Casper might choose a more subdued color scheme with bright white tones and light, airy fonts to evoke the feeling of getting a good night’s sleep.

The degree to which the elements of a design are cohesive is referred to as unity. It is important in a design that visual elements have clear relationships with one another. Additionally, unity helps to ensure that concepts are communicated in a clear and cohesive manner. Good unity appears to be more organized, and designs with good unity appear to have a higher level of quality and authority than designs with poor unity.

 

White Space

White space, also known as “negative space,” refers to areas of a design that do not contain any design elements. The room is effectively empty.

Many inexperienced designers feel compelled to fill every pixel with some sort of “design” and fail to recognize the value of white space. However, white space serves many important functions in a design, the most important of which is to allow elements of the design to breathe. Negative space can also be used to highlight specific content or parts of a design.

White space isn’t just empty space; it helps to create hierarchy and organization. Our brains naturally associate an element with importance and luxury when there is a lot of white space around it. It is telling our eyes that objects in one region are distinct from objects in other regions.

Even more exciting, it can communicate a completely different image or idea than your main design, rewarding your audience for engaging with it. The above logo employs active negative space to convey multiple ideas in a single fun, creative design. It can also help distinguish design elements. This is why typography is more legible when upper and lowercase letters are used, because negative space around lowercase letters is more varied, allowing people to interpret them more quickly.

 

Contrast

Clients who say a design needs to “pop” more are one of the most common complaints designers have about client feedback. While that may appear to be an arbitrary term, what the client generally means is that the design requires more contrast.

Contrast refers to how different elements, particularly adjacent elements, appear in a design. Because of these distinctions, various elements stand out. Contrast is also an important consideration when creating accessible designs. Inadequate contrast can make text content especially difficult to read, especially for people with visual impairments.

 

Emphasis.

Assume you’re designing a concert poster. You should ask yourself, “What is the first thing my audience needs to know?” Is it the group? Or how about the concert venue? What about the cost of attending and the day itself?

Make a mental outline of what you want to accomplish. Allow your brain to organize the information before laying it out in a way that communicates that order. If the band’s name is the most important information, put it in the center of the poster or make it the largest element. You could also use the largest, boldest type. Learn about color theory and how to use bold color combinations to make the band name stand out.

If you begin your composition without a clear idea of what you’re trying to communicate, your design will fail, just like writing without an outline or building without a blueprint.

Balance and alignment

Balance and alignment are two examples of design principles. advertisement design balance: colorful sunset over mountains

Never forget that each element on a page has a weight. Color, size, and texture can all contribute to weight. You wouldn’t put all of your furniture in one corner of a room, and you shouldn’t put all of your heavy elements in one area of your composition. Your audience will feel as if their eye is sliding off the page if there is no balance.

Equally weighted elements aligned on either side of a center line create balance in symmetrical design. Asymmetrical design, on the other hand, uses opposing weights (such as contrasting one large element with several smaller elements) to create a composition that is not even but still has equilibrium.

Symmetrical designs are always appealing, if not a little boring at times. Asymmetrical designs are more daring and can add a lot of visual interest and movement to your composition (more on that later!).

Emphasis

Size, weight, position, color, shape, and style can all be used to create emphasis. Emphasis, also known as dominance, may appear similar to contrast, but it is not the same thing. Contrast is concerned with the difference between two objects, whereas emphasis is concerned with the impact of an object. To add to the confusion, you can use contrast to support an object’s emphasis, such as placing a solid black sphere on a white background. The viewer’s eye is drawn directly to the heavy shape due to the high contrast.

Adding emphasis to an object creates a focal point, which draws the attention of the audience. It is where you want the viewer’s attention to be drawn first, but it does not overpower the rest of the design (or it would be out of balance). A simple example is a long hallway or corridor that draws your attention to the end of the hallway. Consider painting a bright wall at the end to serve as your focal point.

Pattern

Patterns are simply the repetition of multiple design elements that work together. Wallpaper patterns are the most common type of pattern that almost everyone is familiar with.

Patterns is an excellent method for reinforcing an idea. It’s also a great way to unify a design that incorporates many different elements. Repetition can be accomplished in a variety of ways, including repeating the same colors, typefaces, shapes, or other design elements.

The format of the headings in this article, for example, employs repetition. Each design principle is formatted in the same way as the others in this section, signaling to readers that they are all equally important and related. Consistent headings tie these elements together across the page.

Patterns in design, on the other hand, can refer to set standards for how certain elements are designed. Top navigation, for example, is a design pattern with which the vast majority of internet users have interacted.

 

Variety

Design variety is used to create visual interest. Without variety, a design can quickly become monotonous, causing the user to lose interest. Color, typography, images, shapes, and almost any other design element can be used to create variety.

Variety for the sake of variety, on the other hand, is meaningless. Variety should be used to complement and reinforce the other elements of a design in order to produce a more interesting and aesthetically pleasing result that improves the user’s experience.

 

Rhythm

Similar to how the space between notes in a musical composition creates rhythm, the spaces between repeating elements can cause a sense of rhythm to form. Designers can create five basic types of visual rhythms: random, regular, alternating, flowing, and progressive.

There is no discernible pattern in random rhythms. Regular rhythms always have the same spacing between each element. Alternating rhythms follow a consistent pattern that repeats itself, but the actual elements vary (such as a 1-2-3-1-2-3 pattern). Flowing rhythms follow bends and curves in the same way that sand dunes undulate and waves flow. Progressive rhythms evolve over time, with each iteration adding to the previous iterations.

 

Balance

Objects in design carry weight in the same way that they do in the physical world, but it is referred to as visual weight. A design’s visual weight must be balanced. It’s like trying to balance two objects on a seesaw: If one side is too heavy, the viewer’s attention is drawn to the heavy part. If all other factors are equal, the seesaw is perfectly suspended, with neither side touching the ground.

Size, shape, and even contrast can all imply balance. While symmetry and equality can be used, asymmetry can also be used to achieve balance. Consider asymmetry to be the inverse of mirroring: Instead of the reflection, you see something that distributes the elements evenly. Three small objects, for example, can compensate for the visual weight of one large object. Alternatively, a small, dark, and shaded object can balance out the visual weight of a larger, lighter element.

 

 

How to apply design principles

A design does not have to strictly adhere to these rules in order to be considered “good.” Some absolutely mind-blowing designs defy one or more of the design principles in order to create a work that is both visually appealing and functional in its execution.

The Bed Moved by Rebecca Schiff, designed by Janet Hansen, is a good example of defying design conventions.

Rebecca Schiff is the author of The Bed Moved. Janet Hansen created this design for Knopf.

Take, for example, the cover of Rebecca Schiff’s novel “The Bed Moved,” which was designed by Janet Hansen. This was one of the most praised book covers of 2016, according to the New York Times.

example for breaking design rules: The Bed Moved by Rebecca Schiff, Designed by Janet Hansen

Did you, on the other hand, read the first line as “Theeb” right away? What drew your attention to the bottom line? Did you notice that the M from the word “Moved” is isolated on a different line from the rest of the word? The design is clearly in violation of the two rules of movement and alignment that are in place. But! You can easily find the book’s title and author because of the designer’s confident use of a bold contrasting color scheme and a repeating structure.

The most critical information has been communicated. This design is so revolutionary and rewarding because it creates a brief moment of slight confusion in the user’s mind.

It is important to think of design elements as moving parts that work together to tell a story. As you begin to work on your design project, it is essential that you become acquainted with the design principles. Only then will you be able to defy the established rules and develop your own distinctive style.

 

Other Design Principles to Consider

Other design principles are discussed in depth in a variety of articles on the subject. Typography, color, the Gestalt Principles, grid and alignment, framing, and shape are just a few examples. Although some of them clearly fit the definition of “principles,” other elements of design are more like elements of design.

Typography is the arrangement of text in a design, and it is defined as follows: This includes the fonts used, their spacing, size, and weight, as well as the way different text elements are related to one another on the page. Throughout this article, you will find that good typographic design is heavily influenced by all of the other design principles discussed earlier.

The use of color in design is one of the most psychologically significant aspects of a design, and it has a significant impact on the overall user experience. Color psychology and color theory have a significant impact on some of the other principles mentioned earlier in this article.

The Gestalt principles of similarity, continuation, closure, proximity, figure/ground, and symmetry and order (also known as prägnanz) are among the most important. One or more of those principles is closely related to the principles listed above. Others are not.

Grid and alignment are closely related to balance and refer to the way elements are arranged on the page in relation to an invisible grid. Grid and alignment are also closely related to the concept of balance.

The way a design’s primary subject is positioned in relation to other elements on the page is referred to as framing the design. It is most often heard being used in conjunction with cinematography or photography, and refers to the placement of the main focus of an image within the overall image. However, the principle applies to the design process as well.

Another important aspect of any design is shape. This is true both in terms of specific shapes used as elements within a design as well as in terms of the overall shape of the design. A variety of shapes can elicit different emotions, for example, circles are organic and fluid, while squares are more rigid and formal, and triangles elicit a sense of energy or movement.

These design “principles” or elements are important aspects of good design and should be considered in conjunction with the other fundamental principles in order to create the best possible user experiences for the end user.

 

BEING AWARE OF THE PRINCIPLES

F.A.Q –  Best Principles Of Design

What are the elements of visual design? How does it work?

Aspects of visual design include contrast, balance, emphasizing certain aspects of a design while leaving others unemphasized; movement; white space; proportion; hierarchy; repetition; Rhythm; pattern; unity; and variety. These design principles work in concert to produce something that is both aesthetically pleasing and maximizes the user experience for the end user.

 

What is the significance of contrast in design?

A design’s contrast refers to the way different elements are displayed in relation to one another, making them more easily distinguishable from one another. When it comes to creating accessible designs, contrast is critical. Text content in particular can be difficult to read when there is insufficient contrast, which is especially true for people who have visual impairments.

 

What does the term “rhythm” mean in the design world?

When repeating visual elements are separated by spaces, the fundamental design principle of rhythm is formed, much like when notes in a musical composition are separated by spaces to form a rhythm. In terms of visual rhythm, there are five basic types that designers can employ: random, regular (alternating), flowing (progressive), and progressive (alternating).

 

What is the balance design principle, and how does it work?

Visual weight is assigned to each and every element and principle of a design—typography, colors, images, shapes, patterns, and so on. Some elements are heavy and draw the viewer’s attention, whereas other elements are lighter and do not draw the viewer’s attention. If these elements are laid out in a balanced manner on a page, the page should appear to be balanced.

 

What methods are used to achieve emphasis in design?

It is important to understand that the basic design principle of emphasis is used to either make certain elements of a design stand out (such as through the use of contrasting colors, increasing the white space around it, etc.) or not stand out (such as when including tiny “fine print” at the bottom of a page).

Conclusion – Best Principles Of Design

It is certainly up for debate as to what constitutes the “basic” design principles to be followed. Understanding and putting into practice the principles discussed above, on the other hand, is critical to the success of any design project.

Designers should make an effort to comprehend how each of these design principles affects their work on a practical level. In addition to studying how other designers have implemented these ideas in order to structure their own designs, studying how to create better designs is an extremely valuable tool in learning to create better designs.

It is entirely possible to create a good design without having a thorough understanding of the elements and design principles discussed above. To make something that actually looks good and provides an optimal user experience, however, it is typically done by “designer’s intuition,” and it may take a lot of trial and error to come up with something that works. Designers could save a significant amount of time and energy if they put the principles we’ve discussed into practice until they become second nature.

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