Designing is a creative form of simplifying a complex presentation or visually present a concept. There are certain elements and principles of design which are followed by the designers. Whenever you look at a piece of spectacular art or at a marvellous design, you tend to appreciate their aesthetics. This is due to the incorporation of right elements and principles of design. On the other hand, some designs might not be visually appealing. Similarly, a good logo design or an attractive website design with good user interface will easily catch your attention.
Basically, there are twelve principles of design. They are emphasis, repetition, rhythm, proportion, contrast, balance, white space, movement, hierarchy, unity, pattern, and variety. These principles simultaneously come together to form aesthetically pleasing and utilitarian designs that makes the consumers life easy. As far as the design fraternity is concerned, there is no actual consensus on what the major principles of design should be.
Thus, here’s a list of the seven most prominent principles of design:
Balance refers to the arrangement of various elements such as space, shades, typography, patterns, visual weight, or textures. Few of these elements can be on the heavier side whereas others can be lighter. Proper placement might lead to an imbalance in the design. Only a properly balanced design looks appealing to the audience.
Balance in design can be segregated as Symmetrical balance, Asymmetrical balance and Radial Balance. If the designs consist of an equal share of elements i.e. equal texture and colour on both sides –then it is called Symmetrical Balance. Asymmetrical balance is the one where their elements of various shapes or weights and creates striking designs in relation to a line that is not centred within the entire design. In the case of Radial Balance, the balance can be visualised around a mid-point or central point.
Emphasis refers to the design element which draws the viewer’s attention. The designers’ make one area stand out through contrasting colours or by changing the scale of an object to give it greater emphasis. Lines, shapes, textures or other elements are also used to make any particular space prominent. Emphasis can also be applied while reducing the impact of certain information. Emphasising the right element will give out the intended message otherwise the whole meaning of the particular artwork or design will be lost and it will look vague.
The term “Space” in a web design, logo design, artwork or any other form of design refers to the positive and negative space. In order to maintain a balance, both of them are required in the right amount. Here is the difference:
Positive space constitutes the essential information i.e. which catches the viewer’s attention. It is usually filled with objects. On the other hand, Negative space or White Space is the space between objects. This works as a contrast to make the main object stand out.
Movement in design refers to the direction along which the viewer’s eye moves. In order to control the motion in composition, curved or diagonal lines are being used. Various high-key and low-key colours are used to visualise movement in art and design. An array of compositional rules such as leading lines, Rule of Thirds or Golden Ratio is incorporated for the occurrence of movement in the composition. Movement tells the tale or the narrative of the overall work.
The contrast in a composition means the difference between two adjacent designs and elements. As a result of the differences, certain elements are clearly seen. One can use contrast in creating accessible designs. In the case of visually impaired viewers, the texts can be more difficult to decipher if there’s insufficient contrast.
There are three basic elements of contrast. They are depth, colour and size. Depth is used for creating better visibility and sharpness. In the case of Colours, the contrast of dark and light shades is used in different elements to maintain balance. The contrast in Size refers to the appropriate image and text sizes in sync with the overall design.
Proportion refers to the relation of elements in a design. Their visual size and weight help in the right proportion within the composition. Proportion is all about what is essential in a design and what isn’t. Bigger elements are more important than smaller ones. Proportion can be maintained only if all elements of the design have perfect sizes and are thoughtfully positioned. It is somewhat associated with the concept of balance. Scaling or proportion signifies how large things look in the composition. In our surroundings, we tend to see things based on a known scale. We normally use our bodies to determine average measurements and to scale elements. Thus we easily identify the proportions as right or wrong.
The pattern in design is an important element as it showcases the repeating of an object or symbol all over the composition. It can refer to any element of art, like colour, line, shape, or form. Creating a balanced pattern tends to draw attention. In the case of user interface design, pattern signifies consistent visual or conceptual repetition. A geometric design is a type of pattern which is created by geometric shapes and generally repeated like a wallpaper design. Repetition revolves around the same object being repeated. Patterns are created of various elements which are then repeated in a similar way throughout the design. Repetition leads to consistency in a composition, which altogether makes the design more meaningful.
These principles play a very crucial part in every design. Thus, profound knowledge and implementation of these principles will help in structuring a successful design.