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Understanding the Importance of Principles of Design

Jan 22, 2021
Understanding the Importance of Principles of Design

As a web designer or a UX/UI designer, designing websites and interfaces is part of the job description. Expert designers understand that the key to creating beautiful artwork is not only an idea but an understanding of the fundamental principles of design.

People spend years studying visual presentation and design but somehow fail to create a masterpiece. One reason for that is because they don’t realize that designing requires more than just an inspiration. For any artwork, model, or visual centerpieces, you need to follow the basic principles and elements of design. That said, you also need to make sure your visual design includes most, if not all, of the aspects of design.

Before we move on to explore what these elements and principles of design are, let’s first define the terms.


Elements of design are the individual components that designers use to create their masterpiece. They incorporate the structure and composition of the plan and can be rightly called the ingredients of your creation.


The principles of design are the guidelines based on which designers combine all the elements. Every rule is a standard that applies to each component. The arrangement and organization of the features depend on the principles. Now that we know what elements and principles of design mean, let’s dive into the components of these two.

Elements of Design

The main design elements are


A point is the primary element of design. It can either be used separately or relative to other points to create a shape or line. Adding a point in any space creates a relation between the negative and positive space.


A line is a single stroke, but in graphic design, it’s defined as a continuous mark connecting two points. It can be vertical, horizontal, implied, actual, or diagonal. Apart from dividing spaces, lines are also needed to create shapes and forms with different texture and density.


Color is a crucial design element for users and designers. It is used to ignite emotions, moods, and create interests. They’re applied to different elements such as shapes, lines, and textures. The element of color highlights three different properties, namely hue, value, and intensity. Where hue signifies the color, value defines how light or dark its shade is, and intensity is its saturation.


Shapes are created by elements such as line and color. Any defined area is known as a shape. It can either be a 2D element built on a plane or a 3D element created with area plus volume. These objects can be either realistic, geometric, or abstract. They are primarily added for engagement and stir the users’ interest in the interface.


The texture is the quality of a surface that is a physical entity, visible and touchable. It can be either smooth, rough, hard, or soft. The texture of a surface can trigger us to imagine the sensation of what it feels like when in contact. Graphics and illustrations can create impressions quickly if done right.


Just like other elements, typography is also an essential part of the design. The fonts you incorporate into your design set the tone and mood of the interface. Choosing the right words is vital to deliver your message effectively, but without the perfect font style, your message will not create a lasting impact. Font families have the power to make your text look different and unique.


Space is the area between 2 points or objects and is called negative space. While it is known for being three dimensional, in graphic design, it’s the depth in an object. Blank parts or whitespaces create an image. The depth between those blank parts can be defined as space.

Now that we’ve discussed the main elements of design let’s talk about the principles of design in detail.

Principles of Design

Since the elements are the ingredients of the design, the principles are the recipe to define their position.


Every element has a significant part to play in the design of any website, mobile app, web app, and more. Some features are more eye-catching than others, and too much of a single element can be disastrous. So, you want all aspects to hold equal weight on the page that is maintain a balance. There are two variations of balance, symmetrical and asymmetrical. Symmetrical balance focuses on the imaginary centerline, which divides the weight of the elements equally. Asymmetrical balance has no imaginary line. It merely finds a center point regardless of the uneven distribution of weight.


Emphasis focuses on those elements of your design that need to stand out. To draw viewers’ attention to the content on the website or app, Emphasis is essential. Size, contrast, convergence, alignment are some strategies used to highlight the significance of one element over the other.


In the simplest of words, harmony is defined as a natural connection. It signifies a seamless, straightforward relationship between individual elements and gives them a unified impression.


The term defines the relationship between elements and their composition. Unity is created by implementing alignment, repetition, proximity techniques. The visual aesthetics of the connection between various aspects offers better visual appeal, improving the UX of the design.


The movement of your users’ attention is dependent on the placement of the elements. The correct placement creates a visual flow, and the arrangement of the components can control the movement of the viewer’s eyes.


Repetition allows consistency in the composition of the elements. Combining elements to work with a specific pattern and rhythm is essential for the visual aesthetics of the design.


Rhythm creates a continuous flow between the elements. They follow a specific sequence to create movement with defined intervals.

Thanks to the elements and principles of design, you can easily create visual masterpieces now. Understanding the guidelines covered in this article will help you create better designs.

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