July 31, 2020

All you need to know about the principles and types of design

Design principles are universal ideas that designers try to follow to create a compelling and convincing composition – whether it is boarding, infographics, logo, or interface design. The fundamental principles include balance, contrast, dominance, hierarchy, proportions, and unity of style.

Let’s look at each of these principles and the related design concepts in detail.


The balance characterizes how objects are located within the composition and what visual weight they have. This can be implemented using the next methods:

Symmetry (formal balance): when objects are placed evenly around a horizontal or vertical axis. If objects are placed around a central point, this is radial symmetry.

Symmetry (informal balance): When objects are placed unevenly around a horizontal or vertical axis. Usually, in an asymmetric composition, the emphasis is placed on one side or element.


Contrast is responsible for the way the objects of composition are different. It can be expressed through design elements such as space, shape, size, color, and texture.

Contrast image

Negative space, denoting blank spaces, is also an important part of the contrast. You can use it to organize the details of the composition and highlight the most important ones. It also makes the design more exclusive and minimalist. 


According to the principle of domination, some elements of the composition should be emphasized. Usually, different sizes, fonts, and color combinations (which may contrast with each other) are used for this purpose. There are 3 degrees of dominance in the design:

Dominant – the object on which the most attention is focused. As a rule, it is in the foreground of the composition.

Subdominant – objects of secondary accent, which are placed in the center of the composition.

Subdominant – objects with the least accent, which are in the background.

Curious fact: the visual center – a point at which a person focuses, considering the design element. It is slightly above and to the right of the actual center of the composition. 

The visual center is the point at which a person focuses on looking at a design element.


Movement is a visual path that an observer follows when viewing a song. By following the principle of movement, you can make your design narrative and create a first-class user experience. And help you in this design elements such as lines, shapes, and colors.

Proportion or scale

The proportion is responsible for the visual weight and size of the parts in the composition, as well as how they relate to each other. This principle is also called scale.

Proportion or scale. Source

The size of one object relative to another can help you create a focal point or movement within the composition. In addition, by varying the size of the elements, you can show the importance of any of them. 


Many believe that visual unity is the key goal of design, although this view is not always shared among professionals. Unity, or harmony, implies the coherence of individual elements with the composition as a whole.

The following design principles apply to unity:

  • Alignment – when objects are located on a certain axis or cadence;
  • Continuation – when a line or pattern is extended;
  • Perspective – when the elements are located at a distance from each other;
  • Proximity – when objects are placed close to each other;
  • Repetition – when the patterns are copied several times;
  • Rhythm – when the objects are repeated with small changes. 

While design principles are considered universal, they can be interpreted differently in the context of different design techniques.

Graphic Design Tips

Start with the target.

What materials do you develop? Social media advertising, letter templates or maybe eBook? Each of these types of content is customized for specific purposes and you should consider this.

Before you create any graphic design element, think about what it will be used for, and agree on it.

Rely on your stylus guide.

When choosing design elements for a song, always consider your company’s style guide. Under such guidance you will immediately understand what colors, fonts and details should be used in the design of this or that content.

Put things in order through lines and alignment.

Align the text on your chart to guide users as they explore the information. Or separate the text portion from the image using horizontal lines. It will be much easier for people to learn your design if it is properly formatted. 

Include icons and illustrations.

Icons and illustrations can help you dilute content that relies too heavily on the text part. In addition, icons can demonstrate concepts that cannot be shown in normal images.

Logo and brand design tips

Think through the aesthetics of your brand

How do you see the image of your brand or company? If your brand was a person, what kind of personality would it possess? The design of your brand should reflect the answers to these questions.

Before you start, make a list of adjectives that describe your brand, company and culture. This will help you choose colour combinations, pictures, fonts and other elements to highlight key aspects.

Allow yourself a little fantasy

Your logo and brand attributes need not be directly related to what your company does. 

For example, the logo of Salita Promotions is actually not very much related to branding, and yet it represents the company as ensuring the well-being of its customers (growth curve) and providing them with comprehensive support (message/messenger icon).

Keep to simplicity

Your branding should deliver your core messages in less than a second. In everyday life, people make an impression in an instant and your company is no exception. Consumers will make decisions about cooperating with you very quickly, so even a simple but harmonious design will play into the hands of your business.

Maintain consistency

You can spend hundreds of hours and tens of thousands of rubles to develop a cool visual representation of your brand – but if it is not reflected in every element of your content, all efforts will be in vain.

UI and UX design tips

Put yourself in the user’s shoes

Why would it be useful for someone to visit your site? What would they try to achieve with its help? What kind of difficulties would they face? Study your user base to better understand how these people will interact with your branding or application. If necessary, conduct research by selecting a focus group, or just talk to your current clients.

Predict errors.

No matter how much you communicate with users, there will always be those who will face difficulties within your product. Predict these issues by implementing elementary mechanisms on your website or application. Say, do not let people send you a form if they have not filled out all the fields. Or ask them to confirm important actions.

Do not disregard standards and trends.

Many designers like to “reinvent the bike” when it comes to some new project. And while this approach can result in the creation of something unique and memorable, if you go too far with the innovations, it will only confuse users.

Try not to ignore established design standards and trends. This will allow people to interact with your site on a subconscious level, without strain.

Support “mobile friendliness.”

Analyze button spacing, font sizes, and any other navigational or structural elements that may not work well in your response design. Also take a close look at what your site looks like on PCs, tablets, and various smartphones.

Frontend Design Tips

Think of the “bending line.”

The most important content of your branding should be placed above the fold line so that visitors do not have to scroll to find this information.

Use negative space to place accents

When you have a lot of information that you can share with users, do not try to put most of it on one screen. Visitors will find it much easier to work with a simple site, so leave more negative space around your content.

Use color to push for action

Certain colors can push people to specific actions (click a button, go to the next page of the form), even when they do not realize it, and you should use this when designing your design. 

Avoid template stock images.

Because of the banal drains, your design may seem poor and cheap to people. The images on your site should resonate with your audience, and to get such images you can, for example, launch a campaign to collect user-generated content.