Graphic design surrounds us everywhere. It penetrates every small cavity in our world and is omnipresent, even if we are not always aware of it. For this reason, graphic designers have the important task of creating high-quality designs and not only relying on our intuition but also sticking to a few graphic designing principles.
Otherwise, we increase the visual background noise, the interfering signals, and the horror that overwhelms our already limited ability to concentrate and confuses our perception (when we surf the Internet, walk through the streets, look for information or read the newspaper - because graphic design is really everywhere!
We have 10 basic principles of graphic design. These ten graphic design principles will help you to create slightly better designs.
Part 1: 10 basic graphic design elements and principles
Part 2: Best Mobile App Prototyping Tool
10 basic graphic design elements and principles
Rule # 1: Never use more than three fonts
Never use more than three different fonts in a single project. Two are enough. Four create unrest, five create chaos, and six or more fonts border on compulsive hoarding. In graphic design, the information should be arranged in a structured and easily understandable way. Too many different fonts make it impossible to see hierarchies and differentiate types of content.
Rule # 2: Select Good Colors
The human eye can distinguish over 10 million different colors in the spectrum from red to violet, and from an early age, we all learn to assign specific values or meanings to specific colors.
Imagine traffic lights, for example. They simply represent the color, but we learn that red means stop, green means go, and yellow means attention, as the color is about to change. This suggests that we make very different decisions based on color alone, sometimes without even thinking about it.
This is simply because we are studying how this color is applied and the corresponding meaning put into it, and not because the color itself carries an inherent meaning. This is true when you consider that these values will change with culture and social experience.
Rule # 3: White space is important
Also, the principles of graphic design are largely based on the use of space and its balancing. Bad balancing can ruin your entire design, especially typography.
You need to consider how each element/letter relates to each other, give them the space they need, this is usually referred to as negative space (positive space is the very constituent letters, words, and paragraphs of the text).
You must accept negative space as part of your design and be able to use it, so space can help your prospective visitor navigate your design. The key is to find a balance: too much space and your design will look unfinished, too little space and your design will seem crowded.
Rule # 4: Grids and alignment
The grid is invisible to the eye, but it will structure your design and make it nicer and easier to read. Even if you do a chaotic design on purpose, it should also contain some order.
Alignment is especially important in the text, there are several ways to align, but the general rule of thumb is left alignment. Graphic design principles always depend on who you're designing for, too, and with alignment, people tend to read from left to right, top to bottom, which makes center or right-aligned text more difficult to read.
Rule # 5: Textures and patterns
Textures and patterns are not required, but sometimes they can add interest to your design. Textures aren't as trendy as they used to be, but with them you can add another dimension to your design, making it more three-dimensional and more tangible. Patterns are mainly used as a way to give rhythm and dynamism to flat designs and to compensate for excess negative space.
Rule # 6: Composition
The composition is a key concept in photography, but it also applies to visual design. Whether you use an image, illustration, or something else, composition matters. Try to direct your gaze to what's important to emphasize your subject or reinforce your message. It's all about telling the right story and doing it well.
Rule # 7: Scale
The scale helps you create not only rhythm, contrast, and balance, but hierarchy as well. Not all elements in your design need to be of the same importance, and one of the best ways to convey this is size.
For example, take a newspaper page. What's the most important thing on the page? Headings. This way, you can quickly skim the page and see if there is something interesting for you. The articles themselves are in the smallest font size, but this is also the most convenient form for reading a long piece of text. It's all about making good use of size for readability and navigation.
Rule # 8: Symmetry
It has been scientifically proven that humans, as a species, are symmetrical. Symmetrical faces, designs, and designs, in general, seem more attractive, efficient, and beautiful to us. Symmetry is used a lot in logos to create harmonious and proportional designs. Some big brands such as Target, McDonald's, Chanel, Starbucks, etc. have symmetrical logos.
Of course, symmetry isn't always the best design solution. There is a fine line between a harmonious design and one that looks like one piece of the design was simply copied, flipped, and pasted. So instead of trying to achieve perfect symmetry, try adding light elements of symmetry to your design.
Rule # 9: Balance, rhythm, and contrast
Balance, rhythm, and contrast allow many simple elements to be organized into something interesting and engaging. Try to balance all the elements of your design with their visual weight. How you place elements on a page is critical, so some elements that are heavier than others will help create contrast and rhythm that will give your design an appealing look.
Rule # 10: Transparency
Transparency is how an element is visible when overlaid on another. The lower the transparency, the lighter and less visible your element, and the higher the transparency, the brighter the element.
Transparency is also a good option for creating a sense of movement in static images. For example, check out this poster by Filippo Baraccani, Mikko Kertner and Lorenz Pottast, where different layers of an image with different levels of transparency create an amazing effect and sense of movement.
Rule # 11: Balance
Balance is an important part of our lives, and just as important in the design world. One way to become a master of balance is to think about whether each of your elements has "weight". From text boxes, images, and flashy elements, considering their size, shape, and how they relate to each other. A good method is to imagine that your design will be printed as a 3D model.