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5 Design Composition Key Principles for Better Design

Written By Zainab Aftab | Last Modified On April 22, 2024

Design is created with a composition of different elements that combine to form visual content. When you are designing a web page for any kind of screen, understanding composition rules is important for balancing other elements. It creates a unified design and a much better overall experience. In this blog, we will be discussing design composition key principles so you can understand how to use them to create a better user interface (UI).

What Is Visual Design Composition?

Visual design composition is one of the elements of design that serves as a building block. It combines all the other elements together to convey the desired message with harmony. Making a composition in design means arranging, distributing, and aligning your design so that it not only looks aesthetically pleasing but is structurally correct and effective for your audience.

Importance of Design Composition

Now you might be thinking that visual design composition is more important than other design principles. Design composition is the arrangement of elements on a page, which helps to establish a visual hierarchy and communicate with the reader. Design composition can be used to create visual interest and guide the reader’s eye through the information presented on the page.

Moreover, it can also be used to control how much information is displayed at one time so that your audience will stay focused on what you want them to see.

Before the mobile-friendly website approach was adopted, designers used to create static web page designs that were used across all screen sizes. For a good user experience, we must design responsive or adaptive web designs. So creating a layout that works on all screen sizes is crucial.

In that case, visual design composition is the building block for creating responsive web designs combined with the other elements. We can use composition to create responsive visual content to give users a better experience on all types of devices.

Additional Reading: Top Benefits of Proximity in Design | Complete Guide

What Are the 12 Principles of Design?

Before understanding the design composition key principles, you need to understand the basic principles of design. There are 12 principles of design that are the foundation of any visual design. These principles are:

  • Balance: The harmonious distribution of visual weight in a work.
  • Rhythm: The repetition of similar shapes, colors, or structures in a work.
  • Emphasis: The highlighting of an important element with contrast.
  • Contrast: The difference between elements in a work that is necessary for creating visual interest and the perception of depth.
  • Movement: The illusion of motion created by the use of repeated lines that lead the eye around a form or space.
  • Scale: Refers to the relative size relationship between objects within a composition.
  • Dominance: A principle of design where one element stands out from the rest and draws attention to itself as being more significant than other elements in the composition.
  • Proportion: Refers to the relative size relationship between objects within a composition (also known as scaling).
  • Alignment: When elements line up with one another along their edges or centers (for example, text aligned left or right).
  • Unity: It is the principle of design that guides you to make sure that your design has a single focal point.
  • Space: It is the principle of design that helps you make sure that your design has enough space for elements to breathe and be seen clearly.

Want to design a 404 page? Here you go: How to Design a 404 Page? | Best Tips and Examples

Design Composition Key Principles for Better Design

For creating a seamless user experience you need to learn a few principles of composition as well. They can make your design visually aesthetic and guide them through the experience. Let’s see the design composition key principles important to creating a practical design. 

  • Hierarchy
  • Grids
  • Color
  • Typography
  • Contrast

1- Hierarchy

By using visual hierarchy in your design, you may assist viewers rate elements according to their perceived value. Although it is simple to comprehend that larger objects might attract more attention, scale is only one aspect of visual hierarchy. You may influence the significance of each piece and assist your design in communicating the story you have in mind by using other factors like color, weight, balance, and more.

For example, on Slack’s homepage, you will see that the typography is large that immediately gets the attention of your eyes. But because of the unique purple color applied to its call to action, you will instantly understand where to engage on the site. Slack has also used negative space and proximity with efficiency therefore, the elements on the website look more associated. 

2- Grids

Maintaining a straightforward and well-organized composition will make it much simpler for your audience to traverse the design. Your design’s features will appear more balanced and harmonious when you use grids. Grids are particularly crucial when considering responsive design. When designing for a desktop, your pieces might benefit from a 6 column layout. However, when the design gets smaller, you should consider how to arrange those same parts in a 3-column grid or 1-column for mobile devices.

For example, on Amazon’s homepage, you can see how many items, including news items, are displayed in a logical grid system that makes it simple to switch between each. To provide the best visual experience in a three-grid system and prevent things from cramming as the space decreases, every grid also refreshes as you resize your browser.

3- Color

Colors play a tricky role in designing a website. If done correctly, using color in your design helps draw the viewer’s attention to the appropriate areas. In web or mobile design, it’s best practice to employ a limited number of colors so that, when they are used, their significance is more obvious.

Read More: How To Use Gradient Color In UX Design?

4- Typography

Your visual composition can be significantly impacted by the type of fonts you choose in your design. By using larger font sizes or spacing characters closer together, you can make a message stand out and appear more emphatic.

Pairing typefaces can also aid viewers in exploring content and focusing in on what appeals to them the most.

Consider making banners to spread the word about a particular topic. It would be more challenging to accomplish the strong message you want to express and possibly more challenging to read if you used a cursive or light typeface.

5- Contrast

We can use contrast in addition to colors to give a color additional visual weight. The same hue feels closer to you on a dark background and sticks out more than the others.

By altering the background color to create an equal amount of contrast between each title, Dropbox demonstrates an excellent example of using contrast in its quick-start layout.

Rules of Design Composition

The rules of design composition are simple, but they’re also powerful. Once you understand them, you can use them to create better designs every time you sit down to work.

These five rules of composition will help you learn how to design more effectively:

  • Rule of Odds
  • Balance
  • Rule of Thirds
  • Emphasis & Scale
  • The Grid System

Read More: Data Visualization Web Design | Best Practices

1- Rule of Odds

The rule of odds is a simple way to create balance in your design by using an odd number of elements. If you have two elements, for instance, then the one that’s placed in the middle will feel more balanced than if there were only one element.

2- Balance

When designing a page, it’s important to create a sense of balance with your layout so that everything feels symmetrical and balanced. Make sure that your design has a focal point (something that draws attention) and that it’s balanced by something else on either side of it.

3- Rule of Thirds

Arrange your design so that its most important elements are in one-third or two-thirds sections vertically and horizontally. This will help keep viewers’ eyes moving around the page and prevent them from getting bored.

4- Emphasis & Scale

Create contrast between elements in your design by making some bigger than others (such as using bold text over light text). You can also use color contrast between two different shades (such as white and black). This will draw attention to the element with more contrast against its surroundings so viewers know where they should look first when viewing your work!

5- The Grid System

Clean gridlines are becoming common and nearly impossible to avoid. Grids make your designs more organized, effective, and adaptable for a few clear reasons. Grids give organization to the design process as well as to the final product.

How to Create Visual Rhythms in Your Layout?

There are two major types of patterns in visual rhythm: Z-pattern and F-pattern. You can take advantage of these patterns to improve your layouts. The rhythm is a particular pattern your users follow while scanning your web page. If you understand the concept and structure of these patterns well enough then you can create a better visual user experience for your users. All you have to do is arrange elements of design in these specific patterns.

To create a visual rhythm in your design you can alter the size and color of repeated elements and use visual hierarchy to create a balance in design. You must also be mindful of negative space while creating a visual rhythm. A good visual rhythm can guarantee capturing the attention of your audience.

Read More: UX Design vs Graphic Design: Which One Is Best in 2024?


The principles of design composition are the guidelines used to create a harmonious and visually appealing arrangement of elements. These principles can be applied to any visual medium, including architecture, interior design, and graphic design. These five principles will always remain relevant no matter what type of project you are working on. When you apply these principles consistently and correctly, your designs will have visual appeal and communicate effectively with your audience.


What Are the Types of Balance in Design Composition?

Balance in design composition has two types: symmetrical and asymmetrical. Symmetrical types use similar elements distributed equally on both sides but asymmetrical is the opposite.

What Are the Basic Elements of Composition?

The elements of composition are patterns, texture, symmetry, asymmetry, frames, contrast, depth of field, negative space, lines, curves, color, viewpoint, depth, filled space, foreground, background, visual tension, and shapes.

What Are the Principles of Design in Art?

The design has a total of 12 basic principles. They are combined together to create a visually aesthetic as well as an effectively communicated design. These elements of design are contrast, balance, emphasis, proportion, hierarchy, repetition, rhythm, pattern, white space, movement, variety, and unity.