Five Basic Principles of Web Design

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Design Fundamentals

The first thing I learned in my Design Fundamentals class is that design is more than just getting the right color or the right shapes. The same is true for web design. Web design is more than just slapping up CSS files and HTML documents. It’s about being pleasing to the eye and inviting users to come back for more.

So, today I’m going to go over the five basic concepts that go into a good web design.

1. Balance

The principle of Balance helps you to layout your page so that they focus your eyes in the right area. Balance is the distribution of both heavy and light elements on the page. A larger element might overpower that smaller logo that you meant to be the focus. Paying attention to the balance helps focus and streamline the line of sight.

2. Rhythm

Rhythm is something I just learned this term. Well, that’s not true. I knew what it was and I knew I was using it, but I didn’t know that it had a name. Rhythm is also known as repetition. Patterns are easy for human eyes to comprehend. Repetition provides patterns that make your site easier to understand. Rhythm brings an internal inconsistency to design.

3. Unity

Also known as proximity, the principle of unity is about the distance of elements from each other. Keeping like elements together and different elements apart. Unity is what pulls the elements together.

4. Emphasis

Where is the emphasis on your website? What is it? Emphasis is where the eye is drawn. What is it focusing on in a design. Sure you might think that everything should have equal emphasis, but that often causes the design to be flat and meh. As a designer, you should determine the site hierarchy beforehand, and then from there determine the emphasis on the elements.

5. Contrast

Contrast of Color is probably the first thing that people think of when they think about contrast. But there is more to contrast than color. There are shape contrasts, size contrasts, or texture contrasts. Anything can have a contrast. The trick is knowing where you can use it.

What do you think is important in the design of a website? What catches your eye? How do you form that decision to stay or to click away?

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