Principles of Design Examples to Boost Your Design Skills

Mrignayni Pandey

Content strategist, and copywriter.
December 15, 2022

How do you make sure your designs are consistently geared for impact? In this blog, we take you through the most commonly applied principles that will take your designs from ordinary to extraordinary.

The principles of design are a set of rules that designers can use to create visually appealing work. These rules aim to convey a message in the most organized and functional manner possible.

There has yet to be any real agreement in the design community on the fundamental principles of design. But the seven design principles and design principles examples listed below are the most frequently mentioned in articles and books on the subject.

1. Principles of Design: Contrast

Contrast is the degree of difference between design elements and is used to create visual hierarchies that enable certain elements to stand out more than others. Colors, textures, sizes, and shapes can all be used to create contrast.

Image source: Dribbble

You can use contrast in layouts to create a hierarchy between font sizes, as larger text is always read first, followed by smaller text. 

Font pairing is another area where you can use contrast. For instance, pairing a script font and a sans serif font creates contrast as the script font adds movement to the otherwise static sans serif font.

Contrast also has another interesting application; it can be used to create a focal point and direct the viewer’s attention to specific elements. In the design below, the circle is the focal point of the design. 

Image source: Smashing magazine


2. Principles of Design: Balance 

Every element on a page has a visual weight that can vary in shape, size, color, and texture. They must be of a particular scale for the design to feel stable or balanced. In the absence of balance, your design will appear heavy on one side and empty on the other. There are two types of designs you can achieve based on the balance you create, namely:

Image Source: Envato  

3. Principles of Design: Unity 

Unity refers to the arrangement of all design elements on a page such that they look harmonious. If your design lacks unity, it will appear cluttered and confused.Viewers will be drawn to the incorrect design element and will not receive a clear message.

You can establish clear relationships between elements or use similar colors that match to achieve unity and ensure that it doesn’t look like all the elements on a page are competing for attention. 

For instance, you can use similar colors and integrate elements organically to create a unified design. However, the only caveat is that too much unity can lead to a sterile design devoid of personality. At that point, you can begin incorporating other elements to add movement.

Image Source: Envato  

4. Principles of Design: Emphasis 

Emphasis is a technique for drawing the viewer’s attention to a specific design element. This could be a button, a website, an image, or something that stands out from the rest of the page. 

You can use lines, color, positive/negative relationships, and other elements to highlight a specific part of your design. Let’s take a look at them in detail:

Image source: Envato 

5. Principles of Design: Repetition

Repetition is the process of repeating certain elements in the design to make it pleasing for the viewers. The most common example of this design principle is a grid, as it’s a repetition of lines. 

You can also create repetition in your projects using a logo, tagline, or other shapes. For example, the repetition of waves on the page below gives the feeling that the page is endless. 

Image source: Envato elements

6. Principles of Design: Pattern 

A pattern is the repetition of more than one design element in design principles. While repetition focuses on the repetition of a single element, pattern refers to multiple elements repeated throughout a design (e.g. wallpapers and backgrounds).

The use of patterns can improve the viewer’s experience and the appearance of a final design.

In the example below, the pattern comprises multiple elements of varying sizes and depths and repeats itself from edge to edge with no interruptions.

Image source: Envato Elements

7. Principles of Design: Rhythm 

Rhythm is the use of repetition and pattern to create a feeling of organized movement in a design. 

Image Source: Envato

Designers can create five basic types of visual rhythms: random, regular, alternating, flowing, and progressive.

Wrapping up

Both seasoned and newbie designers must follow elements of design and elements of design examples to ensure that their design draws attention to the right elements and is balanced. 

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To learn more about how it can help you, check out our case studies or contact us for a free demo. 

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