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Improve Your Visuals with Design Principles

One key to producing professional looking graphics is to understand the fundamental concepts of design. Knowing these rules will help you to avoid obvious mistakes that could make your designs look amateur.

Design Principles

Incorporate these basic graphic design principles into your images, and you’ll soon be producing images you’ll be proud to share.


Alignment refers to the way in which the text is arranged on your canvas. It’s often tempting for new designers to align everything in the center, but this can produce a result that’s lacking visual appeal. Play around with alignment using left, right or vertical alignment for different blocks of text to find unique arrangements that work with the other elements of your design.


The way in which different elements are grouped together is proximity. Choose the location of design elements strategically to guide the viewer’s eye to where you want it to go. You can do this by placing text into shapes to create a border that breaks things up or by getting creative with linear position, such as situating text on an angle.


You’ll want to incorporate your color palette into your images to keep your branding consistent. You can do this by choosing photos or artwork that reflect or are compatible with your scheme. It’s also possible to place a semi-transparent colored overlay on top of your art to add a hue that works. Just remember to use color theory as your guide and pick a color that elicits the response you desire.


Line plays a significant role in design. Whether used as a border or to break up text, the type of line you choose conveys a message. Straight, clean lines give a sophisticated and modern feel, while curves add softness and warmth. Squiggly lines can be whimsical or fun. Even the width of your lines can have an impact.


Another important aspect of design is shape. Using hard-edged, straight-lined shapes like squares and triangles often lends to a masculine feel, with curved circles or rounded corners fit well in more feminine design. Straight shapes can imply seriousness, sophistication or stability. When you want to create a relaxed vibe, go with softer shapes.


Space, or whitespace as it’s often termed, provides purposeful blank area to allow the viewer’s eye to relax. One of the biggest mistakes made by amateur designers is to use too little space. Avoid trying to cram too much into your graphic, as it can look messy and hard to read. Too much whitespace is a hazard also because it can have an unfinished feel. Experiment to discover what works.

There are a host of other design concepts that are important producing professional looking graphics, but these basic graphic design principles will get you started. Adhere to these fundamentals to create visually appealing images that will add interest to your graphics and encourage others to share on social media.

Use the infographics below to guide you with the elements and principles of design.

Download my Free Canva Moodboard to get you started!


Programs used include Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign, Canva, Teamwork and Asana some online apps dependent on the requirements of your projects

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