Principles of Design and How To Use Them

Vinny Vics
3 min readNov 3, 2021

Hello, creative minds! This article is somewhat of a sequel to the last one, so if you’ve not read the previous article, please go check it out, and click the link👉. “Design magic”

So moving on to what I’ll be sharing in this article. As promised in the previous piece, I’ll be explaining in detail, the PRINCIPLES OF DESIGN. trust me you’ll be glad to apply this knowledge.

Principles of design basically do one thing to your creative designs which is; it helps you make good use of your design elements such as; Lines, Shapes, Texture, Space, Color, images, and Typography (text). For the sake of this article, I am assuming that you already know what design elements are, so I am not going to go news in detail about it but just for the sake of It, let me throw little light on it. So, Think of design elements as, say, the ingredients of design, just like your soup ingredients. They are what you need to create a design, you know, the essentials, tools, or maybe resources, call it whatever you want but try and get the point. More so, If graphic design has a toolbox, the content would be the elements of design. I hope you understand though.

Meanwhile, whereas elements of design are the ingredient of design, Principles of design are the design recipe. So, just like food recipes are necessary for the appropriate application of the food ingredients, graphic design is no different! the point is; Principles of design will teach you the “how” and help you apply the appropriate amount of design elements needed for every design piece. Got it right?

Elements of design are the ingredients, while principles of design is the recipe.

Now having established the above so far, let us explain in detail the PRINCIPLES OF DESIGN

1. Alignment

This is the orderliness of any design piece. This principle will help a designer arrange their element of design properly; be it Lines, Shapes, images, text, or even mere space. Such that they’re not randomly placed and scattered all over the workspace. It doesn’t matter whether or not you arrange your elements horizontally or vertically, what really counts and shows professionalism is how they’re aligned in a straight order. It is the need to satisfy this principle that all standard design apps/software provide the ruler tool, you might find it as a grid in some mobile design apps but their application remains the same; proper alignment of design elements.

2. Balance

I will attribute this Balance principle to mostly images and shapes, not so much to text and lines. This principle ensures that weight is properly distributed around your design space so as to have a nice structure and of course stability. Furthermore, the balance principle helps us check and make sure there’s an equal weight distributed on either side (vertical or horizontal)of our design piece when judged from the center.

3. Contrast

This is the information hub of all design piece, Contrast help designers communicate effectively to their audience or customers as the case may be. Most importantly the Contrast principle is used to lay emphasis. More so, there’s more to contrast than just color and light (bright, dim or saturated), as this is the default knowledge of most, if not all beginner designers. Contrast extends to size (big or small), lines (thick or thin), texture (rough or smooth), and text (regular, italic, bold). So, this is to say that contrast can be applied in all elements of design depending on the information that is to be communicated.

4. Hierarchy

Hierarchy is quite basic and it also helps to show contrast. It is basically the arrangement or tuning(in the case of color) of elements of design in their other of importance so that it is more visible or noticeable to the audience or user as the case may be.

5. Repetition

Repetition is useful when designing multiple-page documents so as to show unity or maybe ownership. Repetition can be implemented with any of the design elements of your choice.

Viola! there you go, you are on your way to blowing minds with your creativity if you don’t ignore the above principles.

Thank you for following through on the journey. Let me know how useful this article is for you. thanks again!