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What are the 7 Principles of Design? A Detailed Breakdown

design principles

The uniqueness of a design is that it must have a function. This feature is visualized by ensuring that an image has a focal point or center of interest. 'But wait!' You might be thinking. 'Design is all about squeezing out the brain's creative side, right?' 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 to produce something unique.

The principles of design are a designer's guidelines to create a compelling and appealing composition. Emphasis, balance and alignment, contrast, repetition, proportion, movement, and white space are the cornerstones of the principle of design.


The first principle of design is the emphasis, which refers to a design's focal point and the importance of each element within it. Assume you're designing a concert poster. Ask yourself, "Should I focus on the band”? Or how about the concert venue? What about the time and cost of the event?"

Make a mental outline of everything you want to do. 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 crucial information, put it in the middle or make it the poster's main attraction. Learn about color theory and utilize bold color combinations to make the band name stand out.

If you start your composition without a clear notion of what you're trying to communicate, it will fail, like writing without an outline or building without a blueprint. Therefore, follow this principle of design to execute outstanding ideas.

Alignment and balance

Remember that every little thing you add to composition has a particular weight. Color, size, and texture are all factors that account for weight. You can't stuff all your heavy elements into a specific area of your design, just like you wouldn't place all your plants in one corner of a garden.

Your client will feel that the composition has some abnormalities if you can't provide balance in it. Therefore, alignment and balance are two essential principles of design. Equally weighted pieces located on either side of a centerline generate balance in the symmetrical design.

On the other hand, the asymmetrical design employs opposing weights (such as juxtaposing one huge feature with multiple smaller parts) to produce an uneven yet balanced composition.


When someone says a design "pops," they refer to contrast. The contrast principle of design generates space and distinction between elements. To operate effectively together and be viewable, your backdrop should be different from the color of your details.

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?

When looking for compelling, practical design examples, you'll discover that the majority of them only use one or two typefaces. This is because contrast may be efficiently accomplished by using two strong fonts (or even one strong typeface in different weights). You dilute the goal of your design as you add fonts.


If you stick to two or three solid typefaces or colors, you'll quickly see that you'll have to repeat some elements. That's fine! Don't you think it will sound like an error if just 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.

Repetition is a principle of design that is vital for more than just one printed product. Beautiful graphic patterns are a big part of today's 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. Another phrase for recurrence is brand identity.


The visual size and weight of parts in composition and their correlation is referred to as proportion. It's generally more effective to approach your design part by part rather than a full thing. So, proportion is a major when you list the principles of design.

Consider a box at the bottom of your poster for ticket information or a sidebar on a website for a search bar—grouping related topics can give them importance at a lower scale. Only if all aspects of your design are well-sized and intelligently arranged can you attain this design principle. The proportion should emerge naturally once you've mastered alignment, balance, and contrast.


Let's return to our concert poster to explain this principle of design. How would you communicate with your audience if you thought the band was the most significant piece of information on the page and the venue was the second?

Controlling the elements in a composition such that the eye is led from one to the next and the information is transmitted appropriately to your audience is known as a movement. The tale or narrative of your work is created by movement: a band is performing, it's at this location, at this time, and here's how to acquire tickets.

The aspects listed above—particularly balance, alignment, and contrast—can help you achieve that aim, but your design will be doomed without adequate movement. If your eye gets "stuck" somewhere on your design—an element is too huge, too bold, slightly off-center, or not a complementary color—go back and make adjustments until everything is in harmony.

White space

The principle of design is concerned with what you add to your design. The only one that expressly deals with what you don't contribute is white space (or negative space). The empty space around the parts in your composition is known as white space. It is a challenging zone for newbies.

White space isn't just empty; it helps organize and create hierarchy. White space around an element has always been related to aesthetics in viewers. It informs our eyes that objects in one area are separated from objects in other areas.

Active negative space can be used to communicate numerous themes in one entertaining, creative design. To be considered "good," a design does not have to adhere to these guidelines strictly. Some completely mind-blowing designs ignore one or more design principles to develop eye-catching and practical work.

We have seen the principles of design. This design is groundbreaking and gratifying because of that startling moment of slight perplexity. A design's elements should be considered as moving parts that work together to convey a story. Before you begin any design project, you should familiarise yourself with these design concepts. Only then will you be able to defy these graphic design conventions and develop your unique style.


A design serves its purpose the best when it follows the principle of design. Principles of design include emphasis, alignment and balance, contrast, repetition, proportion, movement, and white space. The better a designer focuses on these points, the better would be the final design.

Companies are looking for experienced professionals in all fields these days. You need to be the best designer to get ahead of the competition and succeed in life.

Frequently Asked Questions

The guidelines a designer must adhere to in order to produce an efficient and appealing composition are known as design principles. Emphasis, Balance and Alignment, Contrast, Repetition, Proportion, Movement, and White Space are the principles of design.

The perception that a design is evenly weighted on each side of its vertical centre is known as visual balance. In contrast to an unbalanced design, which feels incomplete and unsettling, a balanced design feels finished and comfortable.

It's crucial to ensure contrast between various website parts so that each one stands out from the rest, whether it's through colour, form, or size. This not only aids in object differentiation for the user but also improves the website's readability and navigation.

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