Four basic design principles you should know (Part 1)

There are many principles of design shared in the Internet such as balance, emphasis, movement, pattern, variety, rhythm and so on. However, from what I have leaned and researched till now, I agree with my teacher’s approach about the four principles of design that include proportion, position, unity and big picture. These four principles are more useful for successful visual communication.

For this post, I will only introduce the first two principles.


Imagine everything in a picture is the same size. What do you think? I would day that is boring. And the thing is that it doesn’t provide any important information because communication needs dominant points. So the proportion can guide the consumers or other target audiences to get the information that you want them to get. In this way, you should think about how big or small every item should be. We don’t want everything is the same size. We don’t want everything is too close neither too far.

Let’s see a good example:


I say this is a good example for the use of proportion because it has very clear dominant focal point, which is that the Duck After Dark will provide film “Mad Max: Fury Road” on October 8th. The picture of film and the text of details divide the post equally. In this way, it catches audiences’ attention and guides them through the content successfully.


When we consider about the position, we usually need to determine where to put elements or items on the page. How relative the items are? How close together or far apart are they?

If the items are related such as date, time and location, we would better put them close to one another and fall along the same visual line. I found a one-scentence useful suggestion from the blog Visual Communication. It says “You should have a definitive reason for the position of each item on the page”. Don’t you think this suggestion is useful? Let’s see an example as well:


This one is a good example. All the information about getting the dose follows the middle line. Besides, the relative information such as date, place and time is put together by same color in the middle in order to remind audiences easily. And other more professional and complicated information about meningitis is introduced a little bit at the bottom. All the items get the right positions reasonable and the post effectively reminds people to get the doses.

But, how about the next one?


The information is simple but the distance between unrelated information and the position of related information are unreasonable. For example, the related information about time is not put together and does not follow a visual line. But the unrelated information about sponsors is put very close to the other main information. So it can be a messy post because of information’s improper position.

I hope these examples can help you to understand the principles about Proportion and Position.


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