8 Essential Design Principles

Want to enhance your design skills?

Follow these 8 fundamental components of design!

The art of making delightful designs supersedes mere inspiration and conception of idea. It involves proper comprehension of the subject matter. Though the fine distinction of design could take years of studying and skill development, several basic elements need to be observed before commencing any design task.


Design Element 1) Line


The primary and most fundamental components of design are the use of line. It is defined as a narrow mark made by a pen or pencil on a drawing paper; but in graphic design, it describes any two connected points.  The lines are used to isolate spaces and create focus on design area. A common example is the use of lines for separation of captions, content and side panels in a magazine.


Design Element 2) Colour


Colour is obviously the most pronounced component of design when viewed by both the client and the designer.  It is structured to stand alone, as a background or used as a compliment to other design elements like lines, shapes or typography. Colour sets a state of mind and defines a branding story concerning the subject. Every colour has a different story, and can trigger emotional responses, which can be altered by a combination of colours.


Design Element 3) Shape and Form


Visual design appeal is enhanced through the use of shapes, either geometric or organic. Shapes are defined by boundaries, laid out by lines or colours; and are frequently used to create more emphasis on a page. As far as design is concerned every item is a shape; hence perception should always be on how your design is generating shapes and how these individual shapes interact with other page elements.


Design Element 4) White space


White space, also referred to as negative space, is the portion of the site intentionally left blank, whether in white or some other. White space is an often underutilised and misconstrued aspect in design. White space helps to create the overall look and feel, which can be used to create shapes just as any other design element.


Design Element 5) Texture


Why does texture matter for a website that will never be ‘felt’? Texture is another critical design element employed by designers to create a more three-dimensional illusion on a two-dimensional surface, thus creating an immersive world. Examples of texture use in website design include background images, such as hessian bags or other material, for an organic shop. You recognise the hessian and have a recollection of what it feels like: thus creating a sense of texture in an imagined way.


Design Element 6) Typography or Font


Typography may be the single most significant portion of graphic and web design. It is used to depict the nature of the subject; like the choice of colour, and shapes, the lettering states that you are a stern minded online news magazine, a fun food blog or a vintage tin shop. Just as in expression, where the words are vital, likewise the style of that expression is just as important.


Design Element 7) Size


Adjusting scales and varying sizes of objects, forms, types and other design elements increase beauty and value. Imagine how boring a website would be with a symmetrical outline and similar sized components. The amount of variation, though, does depend on the content within and the context throughout. The more creative enterprises exploit and make use of boldly stated differences in scale, while professional content is likely to scale in a more subtle way.


Design Element 8) Balance


Balancing in design can be symmetrical or asymmetrical, depending on the choice of the task.  Symmetry design is rarely used while most designers and artist prefer asymmetry because of its appealing nature.


Wrap up

Although there are numerous principles required for the creation of attractive designs on and off the web, the eight design elements listed above are the fundamental elements needed to create appealing and professional designs every time.

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