Design Principles

Design Principles

Designing involves numerous aspects that work together to catch the viewer’s attention. The elements and principles of design work together to make a visual hierarchy that decides the viewer’s engagement level. While design principles are not rigidly established, we will look at some of the prominent principles essential for interactive projects.

Read through to get insights about the design principles.

Basic Principles of Design

Some necessary aspects of design need to be coordinated in ways that look visually appealing. These principles work together as they are integrated and dependent on each other.

Let’s take a look at some of the basic principles of design, and how understanding these ideas helps make us a great alternative to other subscription services.

Dominance

The principle of dominance plays an important role in the composition of design as it dictates the focal point concerning other principles. The dominant aspect of a design usually lies in the foreground, thereby garnering more attention.

The dominant aspect is usually the title, which is surrounded by white space to enhance the prominence compared to other metadata on the page. The dominant feature essentially provides emphasis on the most important information.

Read more about proportions and composition in design.

Similarity

This design principle is responsible for creating a consistent and cohesive pattern to make the composition contain similar traits. This can be in the form of similar color, texture, shape, or style. This allows a variety of information to appear interconnected, reinforcing the message.

The weight of texts or consistent geometric shapes can significantly impact if they are similar across the design. The similarity principle of design provides a great way to unify numerous elements and dictate the importance of the information presented.

Rhythm

The design principle of rhythm adopts the repetition of elements to make the design seem organized while connecting them. Rhythm provides the virtue of consuming information with ease as it presents a structured format.

Rhythm can also effectively set the designs apart from every other aspect while simultaneously expressing the similarity between these aspects. Rhythm also occurs in the space provided between every repeated element.

Texture

This principle of design employs the use of tactile elements. The texture is at the heart of typography as the different sizes and weight of fonts have a significant impact on the design’s texture.

This design aspect is responsible for creating depth and incorporating a three-dimensional visual to the overall look. It can be achieved by choosing appropriate fonts and repeating shapes.

Direction

This principle guides the eye of the viewer throughout the composition of the design. The principle of direction is required to shift the viewer’s attention from one piece of information to another in a particular order.

This is done by positioning the different elements of the design in such a way that follows and descending order of importance. To do this, the element of dominance is required. This is a fine example of the interconnectedness of different design principles.

Alignment

The alignment of different design aspects is necessary as it makes the design appear neat and easy to navigate. This is done most often with grids that provide imaginary lines for the viewers.

(Source : Google Images)

The information within these grids depicts the association between them. The aspects aligned appropriately will seem related to each other and make more sense to the viewer. This aspect also improves the balance presented in the design.

Contrast

The design principle of design focuses on the smaller aspects of the design and their relationship with larger parts. The differences between different design aspects allow some elements to pop, making it catchier for the viewer.

Contrast is also an important principle of design as it enables easy accessibility of the design. This means that insufficient contrast can make it difficult for the viewer to consume the necessary information.

Once you have understood the basic breakdown of design principles, you should learn how to combine these various elements to create what a designer would label a ‘visual hierarchy.’

Visual hierarchy

This design principle is devoted to arranging the different elements in a way that would reveal their importance. This is done by combining the principles of design in the best way.

Following a visual hierarchy essentially arranges the information strategically that would make it easier to understand.

These elements influence the perception of the viewer to convey a message to induce action.

Components of Visual Hierarchy

The different visual hierarchy components are combined to create a catchy, strategic, and informational design that effectively conveys the message.

Now, let’s take a look at the important elements of visual hierarchy.

Scale

When it comes to design, size significantly impacts the perception of the overall outcome. The brain is wired to recognize larger objects first, and this can be effectively applied in design. The primary message can be easily recognized by the viewers instantly by increasing the size of it. This will guide the eye to the message of the design.

Color

Navigating design requires the visual organization of color. Using the right pop of color, coupled with the elements’ size, can draw the viewer’s attention. Bright colors can easily gain the interest of the viewer and compel them to read further.

Contrast

As mentioned earlier, contrast is an important factor of design as dramatic shifts in text or color are eye-catching. A font’s weight can increase the message’s emphasis, thereby inducing viewers to pay more attention to the information.

Alignment

An organized and structured design is more visually appealing than a completely abstract design. Alignment catches the viewer’s attention, but it also guides the viewer’s attention to the rest of the information.

Proximity

The layout structure of the design is established by grouping similar items together. The information presented becomes easy to digest if items are placed nearby. Additionally, this element is also responsible for guiding the attention of the viewer throughout the design.

All these components can be successfully combined to create the perfect visual hierarchy. Maintaining the hierarchy in any design is essential as it decides the level of engagement of the viewer. If all the elements are incorporated appropriately into the design, it is bound to catch the viewer’s eye.

Gestalt Principles of Design

While white space or ‘negative space’ is a widely known aspect of design, it is using this space; designers can effectively do wonders for the human brain. It is constantly looking for ways to fill in the blanks and create meaning from this.

Max Wertheimer first discovered this phenomenon in 1923 through his foundation of the Gestalt laws of perceptual organization. This essentially includes the human brain’s virtue to create a whole out of an image greater than the sum of its parts.

(Source : Google Images)

To put it simply, the Gestalt laws are based on the idea that the brain is inclined to simplify and organize complex images. This is done by subconsciously arranging different elements into a system that creates a whole. The human brain is built in a way that allows it to interpret patterns and structure, and this is done to understand our environment better.

These are the six principles included in the Gestalt theory.

Similarity

Regardless of the proximity between two elements, the brain will interpret and identify similar elements quickly. Grouping can be done through color, size, or shape. Creating links throughout the design is also heavily dependent on the principle of similarity according to the gestalt theory.

Continuation

Regardless of how a line is drawn, the principle of continuity states that the human eye is bound to follow the path that it perceives as the smoothest. This principle is applied to design to guide the viewer’s eye across the design, as mentioned earlier.

Closure

This principle states that the human brain will attempt to fill in parts of an image to create a whole. This principle is applied in logo design and UX and UI design by creating partial images to gain viewers’ attention. This is a useful concept to understand when you’re learning how to make cool logos.

Proximity

This principle, as already mentioned, dictates the distance between different elements. Grouping, as well as overlapping subjects, can create a strong proximity effect. The opposite can also be experimented with as separation can create similar effects.

Figure or Ground

This principle functions based on the brain’s interpretation of negative space. It will attempt to distinguish objects that it perceives in the foreground and background of an image. The brain interprets the bigger area of an image as the ground and smaller as the figure.

Symmetry and Order

The brain tries to perceive ambiguous and abstract figures in a manner that is as simple as possible. This principle can be applied to design by creating puzzling figures and inducing the attention of the viewer.

Endnotes

The design principles are widely known and followed around the world. They provide a helpful guide while creating designs by using psychological tricks. While these are useful, experimenting outside of these principles can also produce interesting designs, thereby expanding your creative horizon.

The design principles are a handy tool for every designer. Once the designer gets hold of these major principles, as mentioned above, it will be easier to create the necessary artwork without any major efforts. So, know the tools and design the best!

See also: Design in SEO.

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