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Lesson 2-07 - Principles of Design (redirected from Lesson 2-15 - Principles of Design)

Page history last edited by Luke Shubin 8 years, 5 months ago


The principles of design govern the relationships of the elements used and organize the composition as a whole. Successful design incorporates the use of the principles and elements to serve the designer's purpose and visual goals. There are no rules for their use. The designer's purpose and intent drives the decisions made to achieve harmony between the elements.


After completing this lesson, you will be able to: 

Discover the principles of design and find out which are the most important



The principles of design consist of:



Unity refers to a sense that everything in a piece of work belongs there, and makes a whole piece. It is achieved by the use of balance, repetition and/or design harmony.



Harmony is achieved through the sensitive balance of variety and unity. Color harmony may be achieved using complementary or analogous colors. Harmony in design is similarity of components or objects looking like these belong together. Harmony may be visually pleasing and harmony is when some of the objects like drapes and couches share a common trait. A common trait between objects could be: color(s), shape(s), texture, pattern(s), material, theme, style, size, or functionality.



Contrast is the occurrence of differing elements, such as color, value, size, etc. It creates interest and pulls the attention toward the focal point.


Repetition (rhythm, pattern)

The recurrence of elements within a piece: colors, lines, shapes, values, etc. Any element that occurs is generally echoed, often with some variation to maintain interest. Rhythm in interior design also may be used to reduce randomness.


Variety (alternation)

The use of dissimilar elements, which creates interest and uniqueness. Variety like a painting or some reflective wood panels added on a plain wall may be used to reduce monotony. Helps infuse color to a house decor to attempt to increase design beauty.


Emphasis (dominance or focal point)

Emphasis refers to areas of interest that guides the eye into and out of the image through the use of sequence of various levels of focal points, primary focal point, secondary, tertiary, etc. Emphasis hierarchy may give direction and organization to a design, and avoid subconscious confusion to sometimes improve the design's visual appeal and style. Emphasis hierarchy or focus is not giving each object in a project equal dominance within a piece of work. Emphasis or dominance of an object can be increased by making the object larger, more sophisticated, more ornate, by placing it in the foreground, or standout visually more than other objects in a project. The primary focus point or area receives the largest emphasis in a room.


Proportion (scale)

Proportion involves the relationship of size between objects. Proportion is also relative sizes of surface areas of different colors. Proportion also depends on functionality of object. Art painting can be given the correct size in relation to room to make it an effective decorating component or source of color.



A design must have good functionality. Proper functionality is simply the best possible design and best possible location of this design that the occupant(s) requires. Such designs are clean, nearly sterile, tidy, brightly lit, warm, visually appealing, is relatively dry, has relatively clean and healthy breathing air, and exceeds high level health and safety standards. Great functionality and best possible materials for the function usually also increases visual appeal.




Proximity is the placing of similar objects closer together physically, and unlike objects further apart. This aids in creating unity. For example, different furniture styles with different colors compressed in a small bedroom does not look as nice as the same furniture placed further apart in a very large living room.


Color theory

Color theory in interior design includes the color wheel. Color theory involves the idea of how color affects human thoughts and emotions. Color harmony is a pleasing combinations of colors and the amount of these colors in a design like a room decor. Color harmony could also be a visually pleasing color combination that enhances the style and character of a design like a home interior design. Color harmony involves using a limited number of colors in a color palette usually seven or less initially to help preserve design unity. A visually pleasing color combination may be chosen for the color palette of a room for a particular age group and gender.[citation needed]


Decluttering, organization and harmonization of accessories

Neatness or tidyness, clean rooms, construction precision and organization in architecture and home appliances is important. When there is too much storage in rooms, work space must be made by decluttering, organizing and general cleaning. Collected clutter may hide the initial showcase visual appeal of a room. Clutter also makes a room more laborious to clean.


Lighting coloration

Light coloration is important to setting the mood in a photograph or work of visual art. Using various types of lights can denote specific mood changes. For example, a red-light may be used to denote an alert of some sort in the form of a beacon. Differences in lighting can affect the mood as well. Halogen lamps and fluorescents can give a cooler feel to visual design works. These can be replicated through psychological studies.[citation needed] In digital mediums, lighting can be applied through a variety of filters. For example, filtering out noise and changing hues in a subtle manner can give a simple but tolerable logo feel to a red-alert beacon.




Send me an email to mrshubin@gmail.com from your registered gmail account with (Course2_07FirstNameLastName) as the "Subject." In the body of the email, Pick at least 3 principles of design from the lesson and describe why you believe they are the most important. Write a few sentences about each principle. Send me the email. This assignment is worth 20 points.

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