Graphic Design Principles

  1. Check your documents for balance, alignment and other design principles
  2. Balance
  3. Intimacy/Unity
  4. center
  5. Repetition/Sequence
  6. contrast
  7. Empty space
  8. Additional Design Principles

Check your documents for balance, alignment and other design principles

Design principles outline how a designer can best organize the various components of a page layout to connect with the overall design and with each other.

All design principles, also known as composition principles, apply to any work of art you create. How you apply these principles will determine how effective your design is at getting the message across and how appealing it is. There is rarely just one right way to apply each principle, but check the document to see how well you have applied each of these six design principles.


Visual balance is achieved by arranging elements on the page so that no section is heavier than another. Sometimes a designer deliberately throws elements out of balance to create tension or a certain mood.

Are your page elements everywhere or does each part of the page balance the rest? If the page is not balanced, it must be done intentionally and with a special purpose.


In design, proximity or proximity creates a relationship between elements on a page. How close or far apart the elements are indicates the relationship (or lack) between dissimilar parts. Unity is also achieved through the use of a third element to connect distant parts.

Header elements together? Are all contact details in one place? Do frames and frames relate to each other, or are they separate elements in your document?


Alignment brings order to chaos. The way you align text and graphics on and in relation to each other on the page can make your layout easier or harder to read, promote familiarity, or create a rumble in a dated design.

Did you use a grid? Is there a general alignment – top, bottom, left, right, or center – between blocks of text and images on a page? Text alignment should aid readability. If certain elements are not aligned, this must be done deliberately, taking into account the specific design goal.


By repeating design elements and using consistent typing and graphic styles throughout your document, readers can see where to go and navigate your designs and layouts safely. Make sure your document uses the principles of repetition, consistency, and unity in page design.

Do page numbers appear in the same place from page to page? Are the main and secondary heads appropriate in size, style and position? Did you use a consistent graphic or illustration style?


In design, large and small elements, black and white text, squares and circles can create contrast in a design. Contrast helps to emphasize various design elements.

Are there enough contrasts between text size and color, background color and pattern to make the text readable? When everything is the same size, even if some elements are more important than others, the design lacks contrast.

Empty space

A design that tries to cram too much text and images onto a page is clunky and potentially impossible to read. White space gives your design a breather.

Is there enough space between the text columns? Does the text appear in frames or images? Do you have a wide margin? You can also have too much white space if elements float on the page without any anchoring.

Additional Design Principles

In addition to or instead of some of these design principles, other designers and educators may use principles such as harmony, consistency, or hierarchy. Some principles can be combined or referred to by other names, such as grouping (proximity) or accent (using several other principles to create a focal point). These are different ways of expressing the same basic layout practices.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *