THE PRINCIPLES OF DESIGN & HOW THEY INFLUENCE GOOD DESIGN

When I first started learning design, I struggled with understanding and implementing the different principles of design. Gradual understanding of these principles has helped me to make my designs look better. The principles of design are the basics and building blocks of every design. In no particular order, they will be discussed below.

Balance
This is the equal distribution of visual weight elements — objects, colors, textures, size and space. It can create a feeling of calm or chaos in a design. When a design is not balanced, it can be very distracting to the user. Balance can be divided into three — Symmetrical, Asymmetrical and Radial

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Alignment

This is one of the most basic and important principle of design. It helps unify the elements on a page by creating a visual connection between them. Even without close proximity to one another, alignment creates an invisible line in the eye and mind of the user which connects them. Alignment makes it easier to scan the other similar content around elements in a design and makes a design look organized.

Source: Wikitionary.com

Hierarchy

‘’It is used to guide the reader’s eye to what’s important’’ — gcflearnfree.org
Hierarchy shows where to begin and where to go next by use of different levels of emphasis. It is formed when the extra visual weight is given to the most important elements in your design. It can be achieved by using larger or bolder fonts, highlight the title, placing the key message higher than the other design elements or adding focus to larger elements, etc.

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Emphasis

This is similar to Hierarchy and creates the same effect. It refers to the area of design that dominates attention or attracts interest. It can be created by contrasting the elements of design, such as color, shape, etc.

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Repetition

This strengthens a design by repeating elements throughout the design. It is a conscious effort to unify all parts of a design. It creates consistency and continuity effects. It can be achieved by constant use of a particular font, color, shape, texture, etc.

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Unity

This is also known as harmony or proximity. It is a design principle that refers to the pleasing combination of elements to create a harmonious composition. It helps to group related elements together in order to organize designs. It helps to create focal points for viewers. Without it, a design will look confusing and chaotic.

Source: Unknown

Proportion

This is the visual size and weight of elements and the relationship between the various elements of a design. Designers can use the scale and proportion to create sensations and effects such as depths, realism, disorientation. It is used in combination with other principles like emphasis to draw the viewer into a focal point, and helps us make sense of designs or imagery. This creates a way to depict objects as larger than life, or bring a large object down to fit on a piece of paper.

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Contrast

Contrast refers to the arrangement of opposite elements and effects. It helps to create variety, visual interest, legibility, highlight or emphasize key elements in a design. It is achieved by the use of light and dark colors, smooth and rough textures, large and small shapes, etc.

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Rhythm

This is the visual flow of a design. It suggests movement or action. It is usually achieved through repetitive of lines, shapes, colors and more. It creates a visual tempo in designs and provides a path for the viewer’s eyes to follow.

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White space

‘’White space gives your content room to breathe’’ — gcflearnfree.org

This is sometimes referred to as negative space. It is the aspect of the design that does not contain any screen element and would not attract the attention of the user. It helps to create layout that makes it easy on the eyes and encourages users to keep reading and stay engaged. A design without a generous amount of white space makes the design look cluttered and very distracting to the user.

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Conclusion

Your ability to design great looking and effective visual designs of any product starts with identifying and understanding what the fundamental principles of design are. They are vital to the success of any design project.

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Law graduate || Tech enthusiast || Professional Volunteer || Christian

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Victoria Taiwo

Law graduate || Tech enthusiast || Professional Volunteer || Christian