Making Nice-Looking UI: The Principles of Visual Design

Making Nice-Looking UI: The Principles of Visual Design

Dec 17, 2022
By S. Benali

You know how when you're scrolling through a website or app and everything just looks really smooth and easy on the eyes? That's all thanks to the principles of visual design! These principles are basically a set of guidelines that help designers create effective and visually appealing user interfaces (UI). There are five main principles: balance, contrast, hierarchy, unity, and emphasis.


Balance refers to the distribution of visual weight within a design. It’s like if you're trying to carry a bunch of stuff and you distribute the weight evenly so you don't tip over. In design, it's all about making sure the different elements of the UI are evenly distributed and not overwhelming on one side or the other. There are two types of balance: symmetrical, where the elements on either side of a central axis are visually equal, and asymmetrical, where the elements are visually different but still achieve balance.


Contrast is the use of opposite elements, such as light and dark or large and small, to draw attention and create visual interest. Contrast is when you use opposite elements to make something stand out. In design, you can use contrast to make important information pop or to create a strong visual hierarchy. High contrast can be used to draw attention, while low contrast can create a sense of unity and harmony.


Hierarchy refers to the arrangement of elements in a design to indicate importance. This can be achieved through size, color, and position, among other factors. A strong hierarchy helps guide the user's attention and makes it easier for them to understand the information presented. Think of a fancy party where the host is the most important person, so they'd be at the top of the hierarchy wearing a large hat or something… I don’t know what people do at parties.


Unity refers to the overall cohesiveness and harmony of the design – when all the elements in a design work together to create a cohesive whole. Unity helps everything look like it belongs together and makes the entire thing feel right. For example, if you have a website with a bunch of different fonts and colors, it might look a little chaotic. But if you pick a few consistent fonts and colors and use them throughout the site, it'll look much more unified.


Emphasis is the use of design elements to draw attention to a particular element or area of the design. It's like when you're trying to get someone's attention and you wave your arms around. In design, you can use size, color, position, or contrast to create emphasis. Emphasis helps to highlight important information and guide the user's attention.

In summary, the principles of visual design are crucial for creating effective and visually appealing user interfaces. By considering balance, contrast, hierarchy, unity, and emphasis, you can create intuitive UI that doesn't look like s%#& – I'm looking at you, Google.

⁠So there you have it – the principles of visual design in a nutshell! They may sound a little fancy, but they're just a bunch of guidelines to help designers create nice-looking stuff. That said don't be afraid to break the rules and try something different every now and then.

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