What are "design principles" and why should I use them?


Design Principles are simple guidelines. They help designers stay within boundaries to appeal to their viewers. We should use them because these simple principles, if used correctly, can have a great impact on ones artwork. The simple use of unity, balance, and emphasis can have a huge impact on the way your art looks as well as the impact it will have on your viewer. Boundaries are always being pushed and expanded and will always be changing. I would even go as far to say that Design Principles define what a Graphic Designer is. These principles give meaning to who and what Graphic Designers are, but most of all how they create messages. A main goal of Graphic Design is to catch a viewers attention and have them understand what you are trying to get across, whether it's selling them clam shells, or trying to make a point about some issue. Although, Other artists are not defined or restricted by these same principles because in most cases they aren't trying to convey a specific message to the viewer. Graphic designers purpose is to make a visual message as effective as possible. There has been research throughout the years as to how people react to visual stimuli. It makes sense to try and manipulate the persons emotion by either using the principles correctly, or deliberately choosing to discard them in order to provoke a desired feeling. These guidelines help us do that as effectively as possible.

It will be really interesting to see what is to come down the line in the next 10 years. Design principles have been around for a while and have been implemented for some time. It is believed that they are not rules but guidelines, however the guidelines can be pushed only so far, so many ways, for so long. However it is important to generally follow the established design principles to gain an audience. As designers if we choose to turn away from established principles we will run the risk of not capturing an audience and therefore not communicating. What will the next evolution in graphic design be? As technology advances, so will our way of seeing these guidelines and so will the accepted ways of putting them to practice, as it has been in the past. As designers continually try to come up with new ways to grab someone's attention there will be new ways to say, "HEY LOOK AT ME OVER HERE!!!"

I would not call design principles rules because there are always exceptions. Depending on what type of emotion an artist is trying to convey, the principles can be altered. For example, if an artist wants to create a sense of uneasiness they might not use balance or unity in their design. I think the best way to describe design principles is "suggestions." An artist can either choose to follow the suggested elements or not. Designs can be successful either way.