Key Principles in Graphic Design

Key Principles of Graphic Design

The basic principles in designing a graphic are: (i) balance, (ii) proximity or unity, (iii) alignment, (iv) repetition or consistency, (v) contrast, and (vi) white space.

The elements in a design must be arranged in order to achieve visual balance; unless the designer wants to arrange the elements out of balance purposely to represent what is on his/her mind.


Figure 1 example usage of balance

All proximity about is grouping. Most of the time, the elements in a design are arranged according to their classification. It is not necessary to connect all the same elements together, but related elements or elements that have connection should be placed at a same portion; this is like separating the attributes of a person’s personal details; usually the phone number and the address will be placed together in the contact section; while his/her previous school details can be seen in the education section. This is called as visually connected.


Figure 2 example usage of proximity in an office

Alignment allows a designer to organize the elements for easier viewing. The most common alignment is the grid method, which the design is separated into a few parts; for example, centered, left, and right; this allows the amateur designers to easily arrange the elements without losing the balance of the whole design.


Figure 3 example usage of alignment

As shown in Figure 3, the designer divides the design into two parts which are top and bottom; then the bottom part is divided again into another two parts which are left and right.

Repetition is referring to the repeatedly usage of same elements. For example, a designer has a series of designs which are used to present a same topic; the designs are created onto a few papers; same elements such as the design of the numbered list can be repeatedly used, the only thing needed to be changed is the value in the numbered list.


Figure 4 example usage of repetition in a design

Contrast is referring to the opposition of the elements in a design. It can be referred to the usage of color of each element; a sharp color contrast will immediately draw the attention of readers; the element that is added color contrast will be usually indicated as one of the most important messages in a graphic design.


Figure 5 example usage of contrast

As shown in Figure 5, the contrast of colors (black and white), and the contract of size (the big and small font size) are smartly used to draw the attention of readers.

The need of enough space for a graphic design is essential. White space gives the readers a breathing room. White space can be referred as the spaces of top, bottom, right, left, or the spaces between the elements in a design. A design with too much graphics will be a burden for the people who view it, at the end leads to uncomfortable and having difficulty to read the page. Too much white space in a design will probably end up having the elements floating around.


Figure 6 example usage of white space

As shown in Figure 6, the white space is used to create the shape of the bottle; and the enough space of the overall graphic allows the readers to digest the content comfortably.


For the upcoming group assignment, the usage of color contrast will be added to the contents to bring out the importance and to draw the attention; the design will not be full of text, enough space will be included between the elements; instead of using many kinds of shapes on the bullets, the same shape and color will be repeatedly using; the design will be aligned to only three portions which are left, centered, and right.


First, the background is filled with Radial Gradient. Then, rectangle shapes are drawn and the side of the rectangle shapes are transformed with Perspective. After that, the rectangle shapes are added with Gradient Overlay. Then, Custom Shape Tool is used to draw the shapes to represent the key principles; texts with Times New Roman font style are inserted onto the rectangles. Finally, text “Key Principles” is added with Gradient Overlay and Outer Grow.




[1] Bear, J. (2015). A Beginner’s Guide to the Principals of Graphic Design. [online] Tech. Available at: [Accessed 7 Mar. 2015].

[2] j6 design, (2015). The principles of design. [online] Available at: [Accessed 7 Mar. 2015].

[3] MakeUseOf, (2014). 5 Basic Principles Of Graphic Design You Take For Granted Everyday. [online] Available at: [Accessed 7 Mar. 2015].

One response to “ Key Principles in Graphic Design ”

  1. ftleow says:

    1. citation is needed in the paragraph
    2. lack of elaboration on your reflection for the design plan
    3. Should further arrange the content and layout in the infographic

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