Monday, February 26, 2018

Understanding Design Principles

What are the design principles?

It is important that you become familiar with design principles. The principles you will explore are ones that designers take into consideration when creating layout designs. The combination of these principles helps to create a more appealing and attractive design layout for the viewer/audience.

Watch the video below called "The Principles of Design."  This video will discuss eight principles which are:

Balance - a distribution of equal visual weight
Alignment - an arrangement forming a straight line
Emphasis - an accentuation of importance
Proportion - a scaling of objects in relation to each other
Movement - a directed path of optical motion
Pattern - an orderly repetition of an object
Contrast - a juxtaposition that accentuates difference
Unity - a harmonious arrangement of elements

How can I use the design principles in my layout?

Obtain the handout from your teacher for this activity.

This handout provides further information about design principles and it is also provides ways you can apply the principles in your own work. 

When you read this handout you are going to notice something. The handout also includes eight terms, but three of the terms are different from the video you already watched.

Does that mean the video is wrong? Or this handout is wrong?

No, it just means that in the design field, there are some terms that are interchangeable (they basically mean the same thing).

It is important to be aware of this and to understand which terms mean the same thing. The three words that are different on your handout are:
  • Rhythm
  • Repetition
  • Proximity
These terms have to line up with the three words from the video which are:
  • Proportion
  • Movement
  • Pattern
Look at the definitions on the handout and from the video. When you think you know how the words line up, write the words from the video beside the matching word on your handout. 
Make sure to confirm your work with the teacher.

Applying your understanding of design principles

Before you actually design your own layout, you will first select a layout by searching online for a magazine or album cover.

Using this cover, you will explain how the cover design applies the different principles. 

In a blog post include a link to the magazine or album cover (or the image) along with your explanation.

You are justified through fair dealing to use a copyright image as your purpose falls under education (and also review). Make sure to include the link where you found the image.

You can also consider changing the settings in your Google Search for images to find copyright friendly/free images.

View the example below as a guide. 


Image from
  • The dominant image (the man's face) is set to the right hand side and is balanced with smaller images on the left hand side. 
  • The larger upper image on the right side is balanced with the title and text of the magazine's name on the left side. 
  • The man's face is set in colour while the other images of different creatures are set in a ghostly white with a black/blueish background.
  • The magazine's name is set in the colours of red and yellow in traditional rectangle boxes. 
Rhythm/Repetition (Movement/Pattern)
  • The ghostly white creature images start at the left bottom of the page and work their way up to the top right corner of the page, falling in behind both the dominant coloured image and the title of the magazine. 
  • While the images change as they progress, the pattern and style of these images remain the same. 
  • This pattern is even observed in the dominant image of the man's face whose hair seems to flow with the images as they move in behind and above him. 
  • The element that acts as the focal point is the coloured image of the man's face. While the image is positioned to suggest it is somehow part of the ghostly images, the positioning, size and use of colour also allows the man's face to stand out as a separate entity.
  • The text of the magazine's title pops out in rectangle coloured boxes and one box is even a different colour from the other box although they both share the same title. 
  • The fonts for the title are different than the fonts featuring specific authors and a title of one of the stories. 
Unity/Proximity (Proportion)
  • All the images and the text are united with a shared background of black and white tones that suggest outer space or another unknown dimension.
  • The ghostly white images move only from the bottom of the left side of the cover and then over to the right hand side and to the right upper corner of the cover.
  • The ghostly white images start a little smaller at the bottom left hand side and some of the images are noticeably larger as they progress to the top right hand side.
  • Only three or four different fonts appear on the cover and the only words in a larger font are contained in the title of the magazine.

When you have completed the assignment, use the checklist below to ensure that you have included all the required components. Your teacher may have a handout of this checklist.
  1. The image (magazine or album cover) I selected is a very good example to use for this assignment.
  2. I have provided any necessary active links in my blog post. 
  3. I have written an explanation exploring the design principles as they apply to my selected image. 
  4. My explanation includes all eight design principles as they apply to my selected image. 
  5. I have less than three spelling, sentence structure or other grammatical errors. 
  6. I have posted the image (or link to the image) and the explanation on my blog with a title.