What Are the 6 Basic Principles of Graphic Design?

Graphic design is an important aspect of any visual communication tool. It is the application of visual elements such as typography, layout, color and imagery to convey a message or create an aesthetic experience. The principles of graphic design provide the foundation for creating effective and successful designs.

Balance is one of the most important principles in graphic design. Balance refers to the arrangement of elements in a composition to create a sense of equilibrium and harmony.

It can be achieved through symmetrical or asymmetrical arrangements, depending on the desired effect. Symmetrical balance creates a sense of calmness and stability, while asymmetrical balance can be used to create tension and dynamism.

Contrast is another key principle in graphic design. Contrast refers to the use of elements that differ from one another to draw attention or emphasize a point. For example, contrasting colors can be used to draw attention to specific areas in a design or make text stand out more clearly against its background.

Hierarchy is also an important principle in graphic design as it helps create structure and order within a composition so that viewers can easily understand what is being communicated. Hierarchy uses size, position, font weight and other factors to emphasize certain parts of a composition over others, allowing viewers to quickly identify what’s most important in the composition and navigate their way through it.

Typography is an essential element of any graphic design project as it helps communicate messages clearly and effectively without using images or illustrations. Typography encompasses all aspects related to type including typeface selection, font sizes, letter spacing, line length and more. It’s important for designers to pay close attention to typography when designing projects as even small changes can have drastic effects on legibility and readability.

White Space, also known as negative space, refers to the empty space between elements within a composition that serves both aesthetic purposes (creating visual appeal) and functional purposes (helping viewers differentiate between different parts within the composition). White space should always be given enough consideration when designing projects as it can make all the difference between cluttered designs versus clean, professional-looking ones.

Unity, also called harmony or consistency, refers to how well elements come together within a composition so that they form a cohesive whole rather than looking disjointed or chaotic. Unity is achieved by using similar colors, shapes and textures throughout different parts of the design along with making sure there are no conflicting elements that don’t fit in with the overall look and feel you want your project to have.


The 6 basic principles of graphic design – balance, contrast, hierarchy, typography white space and unity – are essential for creating effective designs that communicate messages clearly.