If you are a designer, your main goal will always be attracting customers with creative and engaging designs. No matter how simple it sounds, principles of design play a vital role in making your design meaningful.
Today, we are going to evaluate 8 Unique Principles of Design that are necessary for crafting a design that doesn’t only look beautiful but also serves a purpose. These principles include; Emphasis, Balance & Alignment, Contrast, Repetition, Unity, Proportion, Movement, and Whitespace.
As humans, we interact with numerous designs daily, from the cover of our favorite clothing brand to the poster of the Netflix series we watch at midnight with some popcorn. Everything that has a human touch to it is an example of the principles of design.
So without further ado, let’s talk about what great design is and how the principles of design can help you achieve tremendous success.
Do you know what makes a great design? You might have seen different designs published on social media and people appreciating them, but you don’t find them appealing at some point. Maybe those designs are not serving a purpose to the viewers.
A great design has a purpose, meaning it differs from simple art. It can serve some purpose or solve a problem for the viewers—the way of conveying solutions through design matters. Creativity is the secondary element.
So, are you ready to dive deeper into the creative process and learn about the 8 principles of design?
Let’s get started.
A Detailed Overview On The Principles Of Designs
You can use these principles of design to make your design composition impactful with a purpose.
The first of the 8 principles is the Emphasis principles of design, which rotates around the focal points used within the design. Pretty complex to digest?
Let me explain it to you with principles of design emphasis examples. Suppose you are crafting a poster for an art council and want to emphasize a definite element. How will you do that? By changing colors? Making it bold?
See the image below;
Ask these three questions;
- What is the first piece of information my user will first interact with?
- Is it the lady in the frame?
- The people at the back?
- The text?
So, you must outline and organize all the necessary information you want users to interact with after seeing your design. If the lady is the most thing, place it in the center, and make its color different from others. However, while choosing colors, read a bit about color psychology because every color has a meaning behind it.
2. Balance and Alignment.
The second fundamental is the Balance principle of designs, which comes next after Emphasis. While designing, or placing any element in the design canvas, always remember that every object has a weight.
The elements of design balance include significant weight, which can be of color, size, and textures. Don’t get it right? For instance, you can not place all of your furniture in one place in the room because it will look heavily filled up.
Similarly, while placing elements and adding colors, don’t crowd your design with elements of similar weights and colors; instead, try to balance them.
Balance design elements and decide whether it’s symmetrical or asymmetrical to convey a message of equality and maintain equilibrium.
Have you ever looked at some designs with a dark red background and yellow-colored fonts? Or maybe a newspaper where everything is written in black and white? The need for color contrast was drawn when people couldn’t choose suitable color pallets.
The contrast principle of design is one of the essential fundamentals any designer should focus on. Due to the correct use of color contrasts, some designs stick in the mind of users whenever it pops up on the screen. Color contrast is fundamental because it creates a difference between design and background elements.
For instance, you can not use the same color for the background and elements within the design. There should be a color contrast between the composition of elements to make it more readable and visually appealing.
Ask a question from yourself as a user;
If you don’t have proper color contrasts, how will your audience differentiate between design elements and background?
Look online, and search for design inspiration. You will notice that most designs only have one or a maximum of two feature typefaces. Do you know the reason behind it? The designer wants to create a relationship between the two by using color contrasts that give them separate identities. However, if they add bold fonts over the elements, it will confuse the viewers and dilute the purpose of the design.
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While crafting any design, we usually try to limit ourselves to one to two strong typefaces contrasting two colors. However, you might need to repeat the elements at some point, and it’s totally OKAY!
Designers use the same styles or patterns in a single design to maintain user visual consistency.
Repetition principles of design unify and strengthen the designs. For instance, the user’s attention to three lines together vertically in a design with similar colors. As you can see, it’s an example of Repetition. Got an idea? No?
Let’s look into another example of the repetition principle of design. For example, you will use the company logo in almost all business stationeries to maintain consistency and a strong brand identity.
How many of you have gone through the website of the color hunt? Do you see any unity between the colors in one palette? All the shades complement each other and don’t hurt the eyes.
Let’s look into the image given below;
The first color scheme works; however, the second color palette looks ridiculous!
The unity principle of design is one of the most complex principles and is hard to understand compared to repetitive, movement, and contrast principles of design.
It says all the design elements should be visually and conceptually connected, creating unity!
Unity design principle comprises two concepts; Conceptual unity and Visual unity. In Conceptual unity, the designer has to convey the idea of singleness or combining multiple elements for the user’s convenience. Visual unity refers to harmony, which is a design principle in itself! Designers can use multiple colors and styles that complement each other, maintaining visual consistency.
The proportion principle of design refers to the visual size and weights of elements in the design, and how they co-relate with each other. It helps give a strategic approach to the designs in sections, instead of as a whole.
By grouping relative elements, you can get the user’s attention toward a specific section without occupying too much space. For example, think of the small box at the bottom of your event poster, where event detail is placed, or think of the search bar on the website.
Your motive is to bring the user’s attention toward that box without giving them a clustered look and feel.
As a designer, you can quickly implement proportion only if you have mastered alignment, balance, unity, and contrast design principles.
You might misconception movement design principle with the balance principle of design but don’t worry, we are here to sort everything out for you!
So, look back at your design, and analyze the movement of your eyes. If it’s going right, then you’ve done a great job! If not, then fix everything up to create harmony.
Whitespace design principles are something almost half of the designers must have heard in their design careers.
All of the 7 unique principles of design rotate around adding, removing, or adjusting placements of elements in the design.
White space, also known as negative space, is the principle that deals with what you’ve not added to the composition. Whitespace is the empty space in your design composition that gives more room to breathe and can take it towards success.
It’s not only about sitting and doing nothing but creating a hierarchy and giving the visitors an idea that the object is placed separated from others because it’s important.
How to use principles of design in your daily composition?
As a designer, you don’t have to rely on these rules only to craft an alluring composition. It’s not essential to use all of these principles in your design; instead, you can avoid some of them according to your design.
Let’s take a look at the book cover of “The Vegetarian” designed by Christopher Brand. They have used contrast, proportion, movement, visual unity, and balance design principles. However, the rest of them ain’t implemented anywhere.
The designer took a bold color constrast, but you can see that the two colors are visually connected. The message is conveyed, and the eyes of the audience are guided toward the title and author of the book – which was the key message.
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We hope you all are now clear with the understanding of the unique principles of design and how the composition should be done. All the elements of the design should be viewed as a user and combined together to tell a story. Be creative, engaging, and concrete while designing anything because once you’ve mastered this, you can come up with your own design style!