Category Archives: Principles of Design

Articles on the Principles of Design

Enhance Your Designs with the Principle of Direction

Direction is realized in the movement of the eye through a design. It helps you as a designer to draw attention to the key points of the layout. Direction gives peace to the design because as a viewer, you know exactly where to go next in the information and you are not left feeling overwhelmed. Direction is used to create focus, emphasize important areas and organize information. Learn more about this vital principle of design and see some examples of it in use.

Enhance Your Designs with the Principle of Contrast

Contrast is an opposition of attributes. It can be present in any of the elements of design–not just value with which it is commonly associated–which is why it is not grouped with them as an element. You don’t always have to make objects be in high contrast to each other, though; low contrasting items can contribute to the sense of unity within a piece.

Enhance Your Designs with the Principle of Balance

I often associate a strong sense of balance with yoga. When you do balance poses like tree, you have to make sure you are well grounded, otherwise you’ll topple over! You also have to maintain a sense of strength in your core and pushing your foot against your leg helps you offset having your leg turned out to the side.

Balance in design is the same way. The balance of a piece is like the underlying structure, the core, than supports the rest of the design.

As you read, notice the uses of the elements and principles of design. See how balance depends on them and helps create and support other principles.

Improving Your Designs with the Principles of Design

The elements and principles of design are two distinct categories of theories, building blocks and practices that make up the discipline of design. They give us a common language so that we can effectively discuss and critique designs. They also aid us in the design process because the principles and elements of design give us a guide or a standard to reference when we feel our design is lacking.

I have a sticky note that I keep tacked up next to my monitor that lists the elements and principles and two questions:

* How do each affect the mood?
* How do each contribute to the message and the delivery of that message?

Why Being Odd is Good: The Principle of Balance

The rule of thirds is a photography principle of composition. It also plays a large role in one of the principles of design: Balance.

If you think about how photographers have taken your portrait over the years, you’ll notice they always put your eyes about 1/3 of the way down the photo. Some photographers do place the top of the head here, which, in my opinion, is less interesting… who cares what the top of your head and the background above it look like! We want to see your face!

Stand Out from the Crowd

When something is important in a layout, be it for a brochure or a website, you want it to stand out. But how do you do that? Contrast is the Key Contrast can come in many forms. Most people think of contrast in terms of light and dark, white vs. black. But that’s only one […]

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