10 Simple Design Principles to Create Stunning Graphics
“Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder,” this phrase sums up the fact that a design needs to be judged by the onlookers and not by the people who designed it.
In the digital age supported by the internet, graphic content has become an inevitable success factor.
Even though “content is king,” a complete text-laden page may put off the readers.
To make content engaging, professional Search Engine Optimisation specialists recommend using high-quality images and graphics.
Studies say that people tend to retain more than 65% of the information from the visual content even after three days.
This is five times higher than the information they retain after reading or hearing something.
Also, some studies forecast that almost 80% of the internet content would have visuals or graphics in the form of pictures, infographics, or videos.
This figure gives a glimpse of the enormous potential of graphic design in the coming years.
It has intrigued many people to take up graphic design and build visual content.
However, graphic design is not as simple as it may seem and requires creativity and a constant urge to evolve.
Design is more than just ideas and inspiration; it's about understanding the basic design principles and innovating ideas concerned with the subjects.
If you are a budding graphic designer or a business owner running a blog, here are ten simple design principles that can help you create fabulous designs for your website or blog:
1. Find a focus
The most critical trait of graphic design is focus.
A good design needs a strong focal point since it helps you create designs that make the viewer's eye roll over the vital elements of your design.
Remember, the most crucial aim of the design is to communicate.
Whether you are trying to express an idea, emotion, or information, your design needs to have a focal point.
To find a focal point for your design, you need to understand the subject and the context of what you are designing.
Once you find the focal point, many techniques like scale, contrast, and even leading lines can help you draw focus.
You need to make sure that the focal point of your design is the one that attracts the attention of the onlookers.
If you are a business owner who wants to design a graphic for your products or you want a design that can promote your brand, make sure you have the brand logo design as the focal point.
2. Use lines
Every visual content you see are made up of lines, even the letters that you are reading right now are made from lines that are angled, curved, or straight.
The best thing about lines is, they can help you channel your ideas.
Straight lines can induce neatness and order, wavy lines can create a notion of movement, and zig-zag or random lines can cause excitement or tension.
One of the best ways to use the lines in design is by using them to lead the viewers to the focal point of the plan.
These lines are known as leading lines and are commonly used in flowcharts.
Using these leading lines can not only direct the focus of the onlookers to the focus element of the graphic but also helps you to project other essential things present in the image.
Of course, not every design can have lines to help you, but this doesn't mean that you cannot use them.
You can find lines and shapes in the graphic elements and images that you use in the design.
Use those elements conveniently to direct the eyes of the viewers.
Scale plays a crucial part in graphic design principles.
The scale is the size of individual elements present in the design and helps in making sense of the objects present in the composition.
Think of a design where you need to draw an elephant next to a dog, what you would do is bring the dog much smaller than the elephant.
This will help the viewers to understand what you are trying to convey in your design, and scale plays a vital role in helping the perception of the viewers.
While the example given above is based on realism, the scale does not always need to be based on it.
You can adjust the scale of your graphic elements based on the requirements of the subject and create effects that can signal essential parts of the design.
You can use dramatic scaling on the details in your design and create a hierarchy as well.
You already know how important the colours are for the designs you create.
Colour is paramount for any graphic design since it establishes specific moods, channels emotions, create atmospheres, and can have specific meanings associated with them.
To be specific, colours can make or break a graphic design.
You can use filters and editors to create the perfect mix of colours for your design but remember, do not add random colours to your plan to make it different.
Always choose shades that match with the design, and that can intuitively project the idea you are trying to convey.
Also, you can use monochrome to your benefit.
If you are designing a poster, you can opt for a monochrome filter, which will give the design a fantastic depth and feel.
You can also consider dropping the contrast of images in the design to make them look calm and soft.
5. Balance out the elements in the design
All elements of your graphic design should have a balance to be interesting and intrigue the viewers.
You may now think, how to strike the perfect balance within your design? Well, there are two successful ways to bring balance to your design.
First, the symmetrical balance.
Symmetrical balance, as the name suggests helps you balance your design symmetrically.
By reflecting the design elements from top to bottom or left to right, you can create the perfect balance for your design principles.
While this is the simplest type of balance, it is not very common among graphic designers.
The second type of balance that you can resort to in your designs is the asymmetrical balance.
This involves creating a balance in the design through asymmetrical elements.
It is the common balancing method that most designers use.
This is because asymmetrical elements make any design look unique and somewhat exciting.
6. Repeat some aspects of your design
Contrary to what most people believe, repetition of specific elements in the design can help in maintaining consistency throughout your scheme.
You can pick a style or graphic element that can be applied more than one time in the design.
It is recommended that you create your plan with repeated design elements tied together.
If you are designing multiple page layouts, repetition becomes crucial.
It is impossible to change the designs for each page you design since it takes much time and breaks the flow of the entire composition.
In this case, you need to pick a model that you can repeat so that the flow of your design does not break even when there are multiple pages.
7. Leverage the white space
Most people tend to have an aversion to white space, referring to it as empty and underutilised areas in the design principles.
They think that a good design should be filled with design elements without any white space.
If you think the same, then maybe it is time to reconsider it.
White spaces, when used carefully and strategically, can help in making your design clutter-free and balanced.
The white spaces also allow you to create classy images that are not hard on the eyes of the viewers.
To create breathable white spaces around your design, you can scale down the images and the graphic images.
Also, you can create luxurious white spaces around your focal point while staying inside the frame of your original design.
However, you need to remember that the white area is not a space that is longing to be filled.
The white spaces serve their purpose in graphic design principles.
While designing, you can decide on how much white space you want and then develop it as per your requirement.
8. Align the elements in the design
If you are composing a design that contains many elements, it's essential that you place the items in proper alignment.
You cannot just throw the elements all over the page as it makes your design look complicated and cluttered.
Proper alignment of the design elements can change poor work to an absolute beauty – one that pleases the eyes of the viewers.
Aligning all your elements in the design also helps you to create order among other factors.
For example, if you are using a lot of images, infographics, and graphic elements in your design, then it's essential that you align them correctly.
Alignment also helps you find areas where you could use white spaces for design advantage.
9. Play with the contrast
Contrast is one of the essential tools that can be used for both hiding and highlighting some aspects of your design.
By increasing the difference of a particular element in the design, you can divert the attention of the viewers.
On the other hand, if you lower the contrast, you can make certain elements fade in the background, which can provide a calm and smooth feel to your design.
This is why it's recommended that you play with the contrast of different elements present in your design, whether it is to adjust focus towards an item or away from it.
10. Use elements that complement each other
One of the essential elements to produce a practical design is to take time while selecting the features that complement the composition.
A standard error people commit is using graphic elements that do not complement each other, which affects the overall composition of the design.
Therefore, when you are using more than one image or element in your design, make sure that they complement each other when grouped.
There are many ways of doing it, like using similar kinds of pictures, using similar colours for the elements, choosing images that are shot similarly, and many others.
Insights into Design Principles
The aforementioned are the ten basic and simple design principles for creating great graphic designs.
There is no denying the fact that there are many things to consider when you are creating a design.
Mainly, if you are a beginner, it might be overwhelming to find the right design for your needs.
This is when you can count on these design principles to make the job easy for you.