The 9 Principles Of Design & How To Use Them


The guidelines that a designer must follow in order to create an effective and appealing composition are known as design principles. The emphasis, Balance and Alignment, Contrast, Repetition, Proportion, Movement, and White Space are the basic design principles. In comparison to art, the design must have a purpose. This feature is visualized by ensuring that an image has a focal point or center of interest. ‘But wait!’ you might be thinking. ‘I thought the design was supposed to be about being creative?’ If you’re a new entrepreneur or designer, you might be tempted to go all out and combine the first five typefaces and colors that strike your eye in the hopes of producing something unique. You’ll almost certainly end up with a jumbled design. Graphic design, like any discipline, follows precise standards that work under the surface to keep the work balanced and steady. The design will be poor and useless if it lacks that balance. 

This post will walk you through the key design principles that will set your next project apart.


Clients who claim a design needs to “pop” more are one of the most prevalent issues designers have regarding client feedback. While that may appear to be an arbitrary term, the customer is implying that the design needs more contrast. Contrast refers to the relationship between different elements in a design, especially nearby elements. Different elements stand out as a result of these variances. In order to create accessible designs, contrast is also crucial. Text material, in particular, might be difficult to read due to insufficient contrast, especially for persons with visual impairments.

Understanding contrast is crucial if you want to work with type since it implies your type’s weight and size are balanced. If everything is in bold, how will your readers determine what is most important? You’ll find that most designs only use one or two typefaces as you look for examples of very great, effective design. Because contrast may be created effectively with two strong fonts (or even one strong typeface in different weights). You dilute and obfuscate the meaning of your design as you add fonts.


Typography, colors, images, shapes, patterns and other design elements all have visual weight. Some components are more prominent and catch the eye, while others are subtler. The placement of these items on a page should give the impression of balance. Asymmetrical and symmetrical balance are the two primary types of balance. On either side of an imaginary center line, symmetrical designs place items of equal weight. Asymmetrical balance employs elements of varying weights, which are frequently arranged in reference to a line that is not in the center of the overall design.


One of the most crucial design elements is alignment. It ensures that your numerous design parts have a satisfying link with one another, resulting in a sharp, ordered appearance and, ultimately, better ideas. The most typical text alignments are center, right, and left, but you can also go for asymmetry and align text to other objects in your design. Check your alignment if something in your design doesn’t look quite correct. For instance, the dotted line that appears when you move blocks of text or shapes in AdobeExpress makes it simple to align components in reference to each other or to your backdrop photo. When you’ve aligned your text or shapes in the middle of your design, the app will notify you.

Proximation of Elements

How do people determine whether or not certain pieces belong to a bigger group? They examine objects and, if they are close together, they perceive them as a unit. Proximity determines exactly these factors. Proximity also aids in the structure of a design, as comparable or related items should be put together to establish a relationship. Ideally, you should group the parts together in a way that declutters the overall design and aids information comprehension. In lists, menus and invites, proximity is frequently used.

One of the most typical mistakes made by designers is to fill a whole web page with content and functional pieces. It’s tempting to pack a layout with text and photos in order to convey as much information as possible. However, it’s vital to remember that consumers have a finite attention span, and if you include too much content and functional aspects, you’ll overwhelm them with information. As a result, it becomes more difficult for them to distinguish between what is vital and what is not, and it stops people from effectively digesting information. Designing with the proximity in mind can help decrease visual clutter and increase comprehension.

Utilize White/Negative Spaces

White space, often known as “negative space,” refers to the parts of a design that are devoid of any design components. The area is effectively unoccupied. Many new designers feel compelled to fill every pixel with some sort of “design,” ignoring the importance of white space. However, white space has many vital functions in a design, the most significant of which is to allow parts of the design to breathe. Negative space can also be used to draw attention to specific information or elements of a design. It can also help distinguish between design aspects. Because negative space around lowercase letters is more diversified, people can read them more rapidly. This is why typography is better legible when upper and lowercase letters are used.


The focal point of a design and the order of importance of each element inside a design is referred to as emphasis. Assume you’re designing a concert poster. What is the most important piece of information that my audience needs to know? Is it the group? Or how about the concert venue? What about the time and expense of the event? Create a mental map. Allow your brain to organize the data before laying up your design in a way that conveys that order. If the band’s name is the most important piece of information, put it in the middle or make it the poster’s largest feature. You might also use the boldest, most powerful type. To make the brand name stand out, learn about color theory and utilize bold color combinations. If you start your composition without a clear notion of what you’re trying to communicate, it will fail, just like writing without an outline or building without a blueprint.


If you stick to two or three strong typefaces or colors, you’ll soon find yourself repeating some elements. That’s ok! Repetition is often thought to unify and reinforce a design. It can look like a mistake if only one thing on your band poster is in blue italic sans-serif. You’ve built a motif and regained control of your design if three things are in blue italic sans-serif. Beyond one printed product, repetition is crucial. Beautiful graphic patterns are prevalent in current packaging design. Anyone considering starting a business understands that one of the first things they’ll need is a great logo to use on their website, business cards, social media, and other marketing materials. What is a brand’s identity? Another word for the same thing.


Proportion is a design theory in the art that describes the relationship between two or more parts in a composition and how they compare to one another in terms of size, color, quantity, degree, location and so on; it is also known as a ratio.

When the proportional principle is applied to a piece of art, it is frequently in the size connection. This is the proportion of one element in composition to another related component’s size. In this scenario, a size comparison is conducted between

  • comparing the size of one place to the size of another
  • comparing the size of one element to the size of another
  • the distance between two or more items
  • one element’s height, width and depth and another’s


The principle of movement is concerned with your eye’s sensation of flow or movement as it moves across the work. Even a pattern composed entirely of squares can move. It all depends on how the squares are used, their size, and where they are placed. Some woven materials are more susceptible to movement than others. With a wall hanging, you’ll want the viewer’s gaze to move across the piece, not missing any details or becoming trapped in one point. Apparel, table runners, book covers, and tote bags may be more optional. On these goods, the movement could be enjoyable and interesting.


Design principles assist in keeping crucial ideas at the forefront of the design process. Design principles, when properly constructed and implemented, promote consistency in decision-making across designers and teams, eliminating the need to discuss simple tradeoffs and allowing designers to focus on more difficult issues.