The principles of design

No Tags | Uncategorised

What does the 6 stand for in j6 design? Answer: the 6 fundamental principles of design which are: balance, proximity, alignment, repetition, contrast and space. Lets look at what each does.


The elements and principles of design are the building blocks. The elements of design are the things that make up a design. The Principles of design are what we do to those elements. How we apply the principles of design determines how successful the design is.

The elements of design

  • LINE – The linear marks made with a pen or brush or the edge created when two shapes meet.
  • SHAPE – A shape is a self contained defined area of geometric (squares and circles), or organic (free formed shapes or natural shapes). A positive shape automatically creates a negative shape.
  • DIRECTION – All lines have direction – Horizontal, Vertical or Oblique. Horizontal suggests calmness, stability and tranquillity. Vertical gives a feeling of balance, formality and alertness. Oblique suggests movement and action
  • SIZE – Size is simply the relationship of the area occupied by one shape to that of another.
  • TEXTURE – Texture is the surface quality of a shape – rough, smooth, soft hard glossy etc.
  • COLOUR – Colour is light reflected off objects. Color has three main characteristics: hue or its name (red, green, blue, etc.), value (how light or dark it is), and intensity (how bright or dull it is).

The principles of design

  1. BALANCE – Balance in design is similar to balance in physics. A large shape close to the center can be balanced by a small shape close to the edge. Balance provides stability and structure to a design. It’s the weight distributed in the design by the placement of your elements.
  2. PROXIMITY – Proximity creates relationship between elements. It provides a focal point. Proximity doesn’t mean that elements have to be placed together, it means they should be visually connected in someway.
  3. ALIGNMENT – Allows us to create order and organisation. Aligning elements allows them to create a visual connection with each other.
  4. REPETITION – Repetition strengthens a design by tying together individual elements. It helps to create association and consistency. Repetition can create rhythm (a feeling of organized movement).
  5. CONTRAST – Contrast is the juxtaposition of opposing elements (opposite colours on the colour wheel, or value light / dark, or direction – horizontal / vertical). Contrast allows us to emphasize or highlight key elements in your design.
  6. SPACE – Space in art refers to the distance or area between, around, above, below, or within elements. Both positive and negative space are important factors to be considered in every design.

Watch this video to see it in action: