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  • Writer's pictureTeam Taali

Basic Design Principles Every Designer Should Implement

Design principles are fundamental pieces of advice for you to make easy-to-use, pleasurable designs. You apply them when you select, create and organize elements and features in your work. Design principles represent the accumulated wisdom of researchers and practitioners in design and related fields. Composition is the arrangement of your subjects and the elements in your work of art and the principles of design are the key elements that contribute to your overall composition and makes your graphic design work effective.


The first principle of design we have listed out is the principle of balance. Balance refers to the way the parts of a composition are placed. It can also refer to as the visual weight or shape. There are two types of balance, the first being symmetrical balance and the second is asymmetrical balance.

Symmetrical balance is one where everything is equally distributed, which means that it looks the same on both sides. If you were to fold the design in half vertically, both the sides would look the same.

The other aspect is asymmetrical balance in design, where the designs are uneven. One side seems visually heavier than the other so you might have a few more elements on one side to make it feel a little heavier or to bring emphasis to one side. Or where there is a lot more empty or white space used in the other side.


This principle of design shows the differences between the elements of art or the subjects in your design. When you're contrasting two things you are showing the differences. By using the principle of contrast in design you are showing the differences between an element.

For instance if you are using line as your element you could show the contrast of a curved line with a jagged line. Or you could use an organic shape with a geometric shape. You can even contrast your subject matter, showing something like good versus evil or tall versus short.


Emphasis uses a focal point or a centre of interest in a design. Emphasis is the principle of drawing people’s attention to one specific thing in a design. Emphasis can be used with a single element of design such as a single shape like a circle in the middle of a blank space but a lot of times it is also used in combination with other elements of design.

For instance using lines to draw your eye to a single focal point or using small shapes to draw your eye to a centre of focus. Emphasis can also be use with other principles of design, for example movie posters use the principle of contrast and emphasis. The contrast of colour with orange and blue or even with red and dark muted greys and black in the background create contrast but also draws emphasis to a certain point.


Movement shows action and it directs your eye throughout the work of art and if used properly can be a very effective tool for moving people throughout your design. Movement can be used on its own as in, its the only principle used in in your design but a lot of times its used in combination with other principles of design. You can have moment from one value to another from contrast. You can have movement from balance showing an asymmetrical balance thats heavier on one side to a more empty area. So movement can be used ina variety of ways all of which are effective but its really up to the designer.


Proportion is the relationship of the size of the objects within a work of art, in other words its the scale of the objects, large and small. Proportion helps in communicate the relationship between subjects in your design. It can also show a level of importance. Things that are larger will be more important than those that are smaller, larger things can also seem like its overwhelming where as smaller things can seem insignificant. It can also help put you in the shoes of your subject.


Finally we have the principle of rhythm. Rhythm is a type of movement that is seen in the repeating of shapes and colours or other elements in your work. What separates rhythm from movement in terms of principles of design is movement can be one or two lines that just sort of push you to one point. With rhythm it is a repetition or pattern of shapes, lines, colours or whatever element you are using in your design. It can be seen as repeating shapes that vary back and forth with different proportions and sizes or it can be colours that go back and forth. It can be the same shape, but repeated over and over but transformed and rotated in different directions, so it appears different so you have this rhythmic almost repetition kind of feel to it. Similar to music, its sort of like a beat, a visual beat ni your design.

There is a lot more to design than just some colours and words on a piece of paper or your art board. There is some real thought that news to go into a good design, the key is to know the mood and message you want to communicate in your design and choose the proper elements of principles to effectively communicate your design.

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