Brilliant by design

There’s no limit to the amount of designs that can be created in the world. They can vary greatly, from a computer science poster all the way to a cool company mug – but does anything tie them together? The principles of design may show more links than you’d realise!

Despite how widely encompassing the sphere of design is, there are actually a few ground rules. We’ll explore and discover these design principles, and whether there’s any merit to adhering to them.

What are design principles?

The principles of design are universal ideas that apply to any sort of design. Although not strictly necessary, by following them, designers may be more likely to create an effective design – which is definitely what we’re looking for here!

designing process of a ring

1 – Balance

This is how objects are arranged, including their ‘visual weight’ – how eye-catching the imagery is. Usually, balance is achieved through symmetry (even arrangement around an axis) or asymmetry (a dominant side or uneven arrangement). 

For example, the McDonalds logo is an example of a symmetrical logo, whereas the Nike logo is an asymmetrical example. White space can be used to achieve balance, as it does in both examples, by drawing attention to a centred logo, and are noticeable on websites when driving attention to particular areas. 

2 – Contrast

Contrast is how elements in a composition differ from each other, often at the other end of the spectrum. It can be established using design elements such as colour, space, form, size and texture. 

Although it sounds counter-intuitive, negative space can help organise the elements in a composition, emphasizing the most important aspects and providing contrast between them.

planning a design

3 – Dominance

The emphasis in a design – also known as dominance –  can be achieved with size, font choice and colour combinations that create contrast. A dominant object will hold primary emphasis, typically found in the foreground of a composition. A sub-dominant object will be found in the middle ground, and is of secondary emphasis. A subordinate ranks last, is found in the background and is the object of tertiary emphasis.

4 – Movement

The visual path is the way in which a viewer takes in an image when viewing a composition. With proper movement, like slanted lines and other design elements like lines, shapes or colours, a composition can provide a quality user experience and draw attention to certain elements of a piece.

office design

5 – Scale

Scale, or proportion, refers to the visual weight and size of a composition’s elements, and how they stand in relation to each other. The size of one object when compared with another can help to create a focal point. Varying sizes of objects can help communicate the importance or dominance of one element over another one.

6 – Unity

This relates to the relationship between the individual parts and the whole of a composition. If they are co-existing, there is unity – however, when this is not the case, a composition has variety. Alignment, whether or not an object extends, perspective, proximity, repetition and the pattern of objects are all factors in creating unity or variety.

company design

The end!

Okay, we’re finished here! Now you should be aware of the key design principles, and their importance in tying a design together. They can be used for more than just initial branding, so make sure your company is well aware of these!

As always, if you have any more questions not answered in this article, get in touch with us! We’re a creative agency that offers web and graphic design services, so we can help you out!