Principles of Design: Proximity, Alignment, Repetition, Contrast, and More

Classified in Mathematics

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They affect content and message.

1. Proximity

Proximity basically means space; unfortunately, most people simply try to fill up empty space. Space should be organized, so, information can be easily understood.

2. Alignment

Alignment is like rulers or margins. We need to avoid to use more than one alignment, and to use the centered alignment.

3. Repetition

There are many ways to create repetition: -Bullets, bold fonts, color, line, a design element… Repetition unifies and strengthens. It creates visual interest.

4. Contrast

There are many ways to create contrasts: -Large/small type, warm/cold colors, old/new fonts, and horizontal/vertical… Contrast has 2 purposes: 1. Create interest on a page. 2. Aid organization on a page

5. Pattern

Is the repetition of design element, exact or varied, that establishes a visual beat.

6. Rhythm & Movement

Is the suggestion of motion through the use of various elements.

7. Proportion & Scale

Proportion is the size relationship of parts to a whole and to one another. Scale is to relate size to a constant, such as a human body.

8. Balance

Is the impression of equilibrium in a pictorial or sculptural composition. It’s often referred to as symmetrical, asymmetrical, or radial.

9. Unity

Is achieved when the components of a work of art are perceived as harmonious, giving the work a sense of completion.

10. Emphasis

Is the created center of interest, the place in an artwork where your eye first lands.


1. Similarity

Objects look similar between them. Viewers will often see the individual elements as part of a group. Emphasis can be given to the elements, by breaking their similarity.

2. Continuation

The eye is drawn to see a single continuous figure, rather than separate lines.

3. Closure

Is a common design technique that uses the human eye’s tendency to see closed shapes.

4. Proximity

Uses the close arrangement of elements to create a group association between those objects.

5. Figure/Ground

Describes the eye’s tendency to see and separate objects from their surrounding background.

6. Symmetry

A composition should not provide a sense of disorder or imbalance, as otherwise the viewer will waste time trying to locate the missing element

THE GOLDEN RATIO (divine proportion)

Is a mathematical constant that appears in the nature and artworks. Is a simple theory that can help make your designs pleasing on the eye. Is based on the Fibonacci sequence it describes the relationship between two proportions. And plotting the relationships in scale provides us with a spiral that can be seen in nature around us.

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