Principles of Design Guide - Visual Language of Good Communications

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Design Principles Guide


The principles of design are applicable to all design disciplines including architecture, fashion, art, graphics, industrial poetry, writing, web and finally if I may argue life.

Remember the design is to plan to fashion artistically or skillfully... i.e. to plan form and structure of...

The principles of design are tools used to format the elements of design. The Basic Design Principles are: Balance, Emphasis / Focal Point, Illusion of Motion, Texture, Value, Scale / Proportion, Rhythm, Unity, Line, Shape / Volume, Illusion of Space and Colour. These Principles are incorporated into visual language of good communications.

Balance in Design Principles


The elements of design converge to create a equal distribution of visual weight within the particular composition. The design or arrangement of elements that appear to be a whole with equilibrium.

The simplistic type of balance is called symmetrical balance which has a basic appeal to the viewer.

Asymmetrical balance is achieved by unlike object that have equaleye attraction. Asymmetrical balanceis based on:
-Balance by Value and Color
-Balance of Shape and texture
-By Position and Eye direction


Emphasis / Focal Point


The ways to achieve
Emphasis includes by contrast, by Isolation and by Placement.

Elements placement within a format creates contrast. Contrast can be created in size, shape, color, texture, shape irregularities, etc.

Successful designs do not necessarily need a defined focal point. Sometimes the designer wishes to emphasize the entire composition surface over an individual element.

Illusion of Motion


Change an dmovement are natural to humans. Motion is a characteristic an important consideration in design as well as art.  The visual illusion of movement can be based on anticipated movement.  A number of ways to infer motion to use reparative figures.  Another method is to use blurred outlines, edges or sketchy, incomplete , and overlapping lines to define form.

The use of multiple images can also create the illusion of movement.




The surface quality of an object is called texture. The variation of light  / dark patterns of various textures are indications for visual enjoying. Artist make us of contrasts in surfaces to add visual enhancements.

Two categories of artistic texture include tactile and visual. Sculpture and architecture materials are tactile in nature because they can be felt.  Adding thick pigment to is added to great a 3D paint surface the artist is using a technique called impasto.

Visual texture is the impression of texture created by the artist by attempting to reproduce the color and value of real world textures.




Also known as light and dark. A measure of lightness or darkness in a composition. A value patterns to the arrangement and the amount of variation in light and dark. Focal points or centers of attention can be created using dark and light contrasts.

Shading is used by artists is the use of value.Scale / Proportion


Scale / Proportion


Dimensional element's defined by other elements of design-size relative to other art, its surroundings, or in relation to human size.  Unusual or even unexpected scale can certainly be used as a attention  grabber. Another consideration forsize and scale is to look at the elements within the creation itself.

Scale can attract in different ways.  It can be use to draw attention to the unexpected or exaggerated - this is often the case in advertising.

Changing the natural scale is certainly not unusual.  It is frequently used in religious painting.

Proportion is linked to the mathematical term ratio.  The golden rectangle is an expression (golden mean) is width is to length as length is to length plus width (w:1 as 1:1 + w).  Artists to Architects still use the proportions of the golden mean.




A recurrence or repetition of one or more elements within a visual composition with the goal of creating harmony i.e. a rhythmic feeling.  In visual arts it is the flow and movement of graphical element's). It is a principle based on repetition. It a distinct reputation of elements that are the same or slightly changed.

Rhythmic reputation do not only occur in regards to shape and their arrangement by also in colors or textures.

Alternating rhythm consists of successive patterns in which the element(s) continue to appear in a regular distinct order.

Progressive Rhythm is repetition of a shape the changes in a very regular manner.  .




Harmony is the condition of agreement with the use of all visual elements within a composition.  A number of methods promote Unity. These include:
-Continuation element continues to use the line, an edge, or a direction.

...To be continued

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