6 Often-Ignored Principles of Great Design
It can be pretty frustrating when you visit a poorly-designed
website. You can’t find what you’re looking for, there are
too many flashy elements that are distracting, and you
eventually wind up leaving the site altogether to go looking
for something better.
Sometimes a graphic designer only thinks their website has
to look cool. Don’t fall into that trap! If you apply these 6
principles of great design, your website is bound to improve
in a major way.
Use the white space
You don’t need to fill every square inch of computer screen with graphics. Using plenty of white space
effectively (white space isn’t necessarily white—it just means empty space) has a way of calming the
viewer’s experience. When you allow for white space, your webpage won’t seem so cluttered.
Repetition is a key element of a well-designed website. Consistency lets visitors know exactly where
they are, and it lets them know that they didn’t go anywhere they didn’t intend to go.
If your pages aren’t consistent across the entire range of your website, visitors will just get confused. It’s
fairly easy to achieve this through the use of style sheets, so there’s really no excuse for a lack of
Position the most important elements prominently
Because we read left to right, it’s a good idea to have the most important elements of your website in
the top left hand corner. Additionally, people should never have to scroll down to find the main focus
point of a page.
Use contrasting colors
Contrast adds interest, and it’s a good way to make
your website exciting without making it too cluttered.
Remember the common rule of thumb, “If two things
aren’t the same, make them very different.”
Your text can be more readable by setting it in
contrasting colors that go well together (red and green,
purple and yellow, blue and orange). An image will really pop if it’s set in a contrasting background.
Less is more
Less is more—a great philosophy to live by, and a central tenant of graphic design.
Don’t give your visitors sensory overload. Maybe you won’t be able to jam all the coolest features into a
single page, but your visitors will thank you in the end. Your design will be the most effective if there are
very few elements on a page.
Use proper alignment
Each image needs to be properly aligned with its description, and everything should be placed in a way
that makes sense.
There should be no lone images on your page—everything needs to be visually connected to something
Graphic designers have a tendency to get caught up in the newest, slickest graphics out there. Maybe
you just got your graphic design degree, and you’re tempted to show off all your awesome skills at once,
whether they fit into the functionality of the website or not.
But as long as you don’t forget these 6 guidelines for great graphic design, the internet will be a more
beautiful place to behold.