July 8, 2023

The importance of learning design principles

Why you should always go back to basics

Black plant
Black plant
Black plant

Understanding Design Principles

In a world driven by technological advancements and ever-changing trends, it's easy to lose sight of the fundamentals in design. However, going back to basics and understanding design principles is crucial for creating impactful and visually stunning designs and how they act as a compass for designers in today's rapidly evolving landscape.

Design principles are the guiding principles that underpin successful design. They provide designers with a framework to create visually appealing and functional compositions.

Concepts such as balance, hierarchy, contrast, proportion, alignment, and colour theory form the foundation of these principles.

The Importance of Going Back to Basics

Establishing a Strong Foundation: Design principles serve as a strong foundation for designers. Just like a house needs a solid base, a design must be rooted in these principles to ensure its longevity and effectiveness.

Enhancing Visual Appeal: Mastery of design principles empowers designers to create visually appealing compositions. Understanding concepts like balance, contrast, and proportion allows for harmonious arrangement of elements, capturing attention and evoking the desired emotional response.

Effective Communication: Design is a form of communication, and adherence to design principles ensures clear and efficient communication. Whether conveying a message, guiding users through an interface, or telling a story, a well-executed design delivers the intended message effectively.

Streamlining the Design Process: Going back to basics and following design principles simplifies the design process. With a set of guidelines to follow, designers can make informed decisions, avoiding design choices that compromise the overall outcome. This leads to increased efficiency and a streamlined workflow.

Adaptability and Innovation: While design constantly evolves, the underlying principles remain steadfast. Understanding these principles equips designers with the ability to adapt to new trends, technologies, and design paradigms. This adaptability, combined with a strong foundation, empowers designers to innovate while maintaining cohesive and effective designs.

Embracing Design Principles in Practice

Study and Research: Dedicate time to study and research design principles. Understand their history, evolution, and application across various design disciplines. Seek inspiration and insights from renowned designers and their works.

Analyse and Deconstruct: Analyse existing designs and deconstruct them to understand how design principles were applied. Look for examples in different mediums like print, digital interfaces, architecture, and industrial design. This practice deepens your understanding of how these principles function in real-world scenarios.

Experiment and Iterate: Once the basics are understood, experiment by incorporating design principles into your own projects. Iterate and refine your designs, seeking feedback from peers and mentors to continually improve your skills. Embrace the process of learning and growth as a designer.

Stay Informed and Adapt: Stay informed about design trends and technologies. Attend workshops, conferences, and engage with design communities to learn about emerging practices. Apply design principles to new contexts and adapt your skills accordingly, finding a balance between tradition and innovation.

There’s a danger in product development that as we move forward and build on top of existing great products, making tweaks and iterating the designs to remain fresh and relevant, we forget the principles that made the products great in the first place and in doing so lose our ability to continue to design great products.