5 Design Principles: A Comprehensive Guide

Design is an essential part of any project, whether it's a website, a poster, or a building. It's easy to be ambitious and want to include multiple shapes, different colors, or types of lines and fonts. But without the principles of design, you'll end up with a disconnected, confusing and difficult to navigate composition. To help you create a successful design, here are the five main principles of design: alignment, balance, emphasis, unity and repetition. Alignment creates a sharper and tidier design.

Aligning the elements allows them to create a visual connection with each other. It tightens the design and eliminates the messy and messy effect that occurs when items are placed randomly. In a two-dimensional design, balance can be understood only in terms of our perception. A symmetrical design shall have all the elements arranged on a central axis (horizontal or vertical), to allow an equal space on both sides.

If we assume this in terms of a layout on a sheet, no matter how wide it is, the amount of empty space left around the design must be equal. An asymmetrical design will be opposite to a symmetrical one and is therefore a little more complex. The objects here balance each other and may not necessarily work around a central axis. However, the balance is achieved however, provided that it is visually composed. The image above provides an example of asymmetrical equilibrium.

The objects are placed below the horizontal central axis, but the other design principles have been used to harmonize the image. Emphasis is used to capture the viewer's attention. One element of the design can be emphasized by using color, gradation, contrast, texture, shape or location compared to the rest of the design. Of course, to emphasize the element, the presence of other elements and design principles is essential. For example, while preparing an architectural design of a building, without the presence of trees in the background, a road in front of the building, and perhaps some human figures, the design of the building cannot be emphasized. In addition, there may be an aspect of the building itself that needs to be emphasized.

In short, emphasis is placed on creating a focal point in the design. The emphasis in the image above is provided by the green object, which stands out clearly against the monotonous background and the other objects. Also note that the emphasized object creates an asymmetrical balance, but the image looks unified. Any design should provoke harmony and should look unified. The various principles, when combined to create a design, must work in harmony with each other.

A splash of unrelated objects or images cannot create unity. Instead, unity is achieved through the use of all or any of the above-mentioned design principles. The use of variety would be disputed against unity. However, it is important to understand that unity can be achieved even in variety. This is where harmony comes into play.

For example, when considering the design of a web page, ultimately, a web page has to be composed in terms of its title, content, sidebars that provide information, and various advertisements posted on it. All design elements must be combined to create and consolidate this design principle. Repetition strengthens a design by joining together parts that would otherwise be separate and as a result creates associations. By repeating elements of a design you immediately create familiarity or identity; repetition is an important factor in unifying multi-page documents. When looking at a post it should be immediately obvious that page 5 and page 10 belong to same publication whether because of grid font style font size color spatial relationships etc. Repetition can also be used to create graphical elements such as patterns as long as it doesn't become overwhelming; be aware of contrast. Repetition helps people identify that separate things go together.

Think of it like family; everyone in family looks little different but there are enough similarities that you can see they're all related. Let's look at some good visual examples of alignment balance emphasis unity and repetition in graphic design. Lineup plays an important role in this menu design for family coffee shop from Motyw Studio; rate aligns to left while all prices are aligned to right; alignment extends across multiple pages menu so images headers information always aligned; this creates visual connection between elements simplifies design ensures viewer always knows where find information they're looking for. Packaging is great way see this in action; let's take Olipop cans example; position logo repeated uses same fonts; each one has different colors illustrations distinguish different flavors but they're all similar enough recognize they're part same family. This example visual identity design for Fort Point Beer by Manual shows how repetition vitally important brand; company trying create strong sense recognition repetition pattern style illustration different points contact consumer creates.

Gloria Foulke
Gloria Foulke

Wannabe twitter lover. Freelance social media maven. Friendly twitter nerd. Hipster-friendly zombie advocate. Avid zombie practitioner. Amateur baconaholic.