The Principles of Design
based from the book Design Principles and Problems by Paul Zelanski and Mary Pat
These are some of the most basic, yet essential principles to design – these can be applied to any type of Design (graphic design, interior design, landscape, visual art, architecture). As you go through your day today, try to notice in your surrounding these fundamental principles.
The list of design principles below, when used altogether, create a sense of harmony – of orderly pleasing relationships between similar interrelated elements.
The identical or similar lines, shapes, forms, textures, values, or colors creates a predictable pattern; which forms a coherent visual structure.
Vary the elements. Arguably, this could also be called contrast, where varying elements are
opposite poles on the same continuum. Examples such as dark and light, rough and smooth textures, simple and active, heavy and soft in a whole.
The repetition of similar or varying elements in a design tends to set up
a visual rhythm, a particular beat marking the movement of the viewer’s eye through the work.
This distributes weight of the elements so that the work does not appear
about to topple from being heavier on one side than the other. There are two types of balance: symmetrical balance (elements that are
the same weight on both sides) and asymmetrical balance (elements that differ in
visual weight and are carefully juggled to create the appearance of
It is the focal point – the area toward which the viewer’s eye is most compellingly drawn.
It is using only the most basic elements to create the intended effect,
eliminating unnecessary distractions from the essence of the