The principles of design refer to the rules one must follow to produce a composition that effectively conveys a message to one’s audience. These principles are visual tools that help you structure your images. Simply put, these rules distinct good design from a bad design.
”Composition refers to the visual structure and organization of elements within a design”(Dabner, Stewart, Zempol & Vickress, Graphic Design School 2017).
Balance is the equal distribution of weight, a balanced composition can be symmetric or asymmetric, balance is necessary to keep your audience engaged and not let their eyes move away from the image.
“Never forget that every element you place on a page has weight, the weight can come from color, size or texture. Just like you wouldn’t put all your furniture in one corner of a room, you can’t crowd all your heavy elements in one area of your composition.”(Reid, 2017)
A. SYMMETRIC BALANCE:
Symmetric design balance is equal on either side of an image, this style is used to achieve balance in design and is always pleasing to an audience.
B. ASYMMETRIC BALANCE:
Asymmetric design balance is different on both sides of a central line, not relying on symmetry. Asymmetrical balance can be used when one desires to achieve a casual look and feel. This image illustrates the example of an asymmetrical image.
As a designer one of the fundamental questions one should ask oneself before designing a composition is that ‘what information should my composition include that would catch my viewers’ attention’? You may include different fonts, colors, shapes, textures etc. in your composition to communicate with your audience.
Repetition essentially refers to reusing the same or similar elements throughout a design, repeating elements create a sense of movement from one element to another. A good design practice strives to repeat some aspects of design throughout a piece of work. Repetition is used to create a sense of unity and helps strengthen a design.
Alignment refers to the overall sense of an image wherein all the elements combine to create visual harmony. Alignment in design is used to organize, group, balance, structure and to create a connection between elements. The composition appears clear, confident, elegant and formal when the visual elements are aligned. Alignment does not mean that there has to be a literal line in your design, one should try and not leave the impression of having made random decisions. When visual elements are not properly aligned, it can be noticed and result in your work not achieving the desired outcome.
5. WHITE SPACE:
White space (also known as negative space) is the space between different elements, simply put, white space refers to the empty page around a composition. Space could be further categorized into ‘positive & negative space’ positive space refers to the main focus of the page whereas negative space refers to the empty space around the design.
“Negative space is one of the most commonly underutilized and misunderstood aspects of designing for the page.”(Taheri, 2018)
- Dabner, D., Stewart, S., Zempol, E., & Vickress, A. (2017). Graphic design school: A foundation course for graphic designers working in print, moving image, and digital media. London: Thames & Hudson.
- Reid, M. (2017). The 7 principles of design. https://99designs.com/blog/tips/principles-of-design/ /
- Heroes, A. (2015). The Principles of Design. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZK86XQ1iFVs&t=39s
- Taheri, M. (2018). 10 Basic Elements of Design. https://creativemarket.com/blog/10-basic-elements-of-design