7 Principles of Design: A Comprehensive Guide

Design is an innovative art form that is used to give a creative look to anything. It changes the presentation from normal things to exclusive things. To create an effective and attractive composition, designers must follow certain rules, known as design principles. These principles include balance, scale, contrast, pattern, movement, unity, and emphasis.

Balance is the way in which the elements within a composition are arranged symmetrically, asymmetrically or radially to create the impression of equality in weight or importance. Scale is how big or small something is. The scale affects how something is balanced. The phrase “the bigger the better” is not always the case in design.

Sometimes small elements can attract attention just as effectively as large items. Contrast is the arrangement of opposing elements. Have you ever seen anything that makes your eyes hurt? A restaurant menu with a red background but a yellow type? Or an ad in a newspaper that can barely be read because the dark gray guy was printed in black ink? This is due to the lack of contrast. Pattern is the repetition of specific visual elements, such as a single unit or multitude of shapes.

Patterns can be used to create balance, arrange surfaces evenly, or create contrast. An example of this is the tiles in the department store. While they serve as decoration, they serve another purpose: to guide the customer throughout the store. Movement is the way the eye moves along the composition, drawing attention from one aspect to another.

This can be achieved through the use of repeating or alternating elements or patterns. The frequency with which something repeats itself and the intensity of its contrast creates rhythm. Unity is how all these elements work together to create a visually appealing composition. Every element of a visual composition has weight. The more an element is emphasized, the heavier it is.

The goal of a designer is to balance the weight of each object on the canvas to create a sense of balance for the viewer. Asymmetric equilibrium occurs when objects and elements are not evenly distributed in the composition, but the way they are placed creates a sense of balance anyway. Often, asymmetrical balance helps to create a sense of movement and attracts the eye from one element to another. Emphasis is what happens when you put it all together. It's the message you're trying to convey with the design. To better understand these seven principles, each must be discussed individually.

Gloria Foulke
Gloria Foulke

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