A lot of people confuse between the terms “art” and “design”. This misconception occurs more often to junior and entry level designers.
From a visual perspective, good design should have a point of focus, that enables the audience to understand the bottom line and the hidden message behind what they see.
For that sake, the designer should follow a certain set of principles and strict rules that will make the artwork look balanced and well structured.
In fact, there are dozens of principles and fundamentals that can be utilized within the work of design, and all of them can be at the same level of importance. But let’s get that clear: number is just a number. They just don’t matter. What really matters is how efficacious the outcome will be. And how the design will both work & look just fine.
In the next few lines, you will get a closer look to the top key principles of design which both juniors and experts must keep their eyes on.
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Every element inside every design has a visual weight, some are heavier -visually- than the others.
The disturbance of these heavy and light elements inside the design is called “balance”. And it aims to make the design looks more stable and well structured.
In the symmetrical design, there is a pleasing balance created through the equally-weighted elements on each side of the design.
While In the asymmetrical design, the elements used on one side are not similar to the elements on the other side, like using one large element beside small elements. But it still should look balanced and catchy.
Contrast in general is the reason we perceive and detect things. And it’s the first thing we seek to understand what we sense. We even contrast loud and quiet sounds, hot and cold water and so on.
Contrast in design means the juxtaposition of different and opposing elements to make them visually separated. So that the key elements in your design can be highlighted. It’s what makes the design “pop”-in the language of clients.
To give your design a sufficient contrast, your background’s color has to differ from the color of the other elements. Means the two colors have to be at the opposite sides of the color wheel.
If you’re employing typography, you’ll need to use only two or less typefaces (or only one typeface at different size and weight), so that the audience will detect the most important message your design/text conveys.
Emphasis means highlighting the main idea the entire design is about which should instantly catch the audience attention.
You should make this part stand out from other parts in your design either by size, shape, color, etc.
You have to have a clear idea about the main key piece of information you should communicate through your design, or else your design won’t meet the goal.
The term “proportion” describes visual weight of elements and the sense of harmony created when all the design parts relate to each other conveniently, such as sizes, numbers, amounts, etc. Proportion requires every element to be soundly positioned and scaled.
The concept of proportion helps you to interact with your design work as a group of objects (sections), not as a whole.
It’s agreed that repetition in design can strengthen and reinforce a design and the key idea it tries to convey. It can be applied either by repeating the same colors, typefaces, shapes and so on.
Repetition utilizes repeated patterns to give the artwork a sense of consistency and motion.
If your design contains numerous of different elements, by repetition, these elements will be thoroughly tied and unified.