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Elements of Design | The Fundamental Principles Every Creative Needs to Know to Design Their Own Brand

Brand Identity
min read
In this article

Have you ever wondered what makes some designs better than others? Why some brands look cleaner, catch your eye more, or keep you engaged better than others?

Well there’s lots to it (designers pay tens of thousands of dollars and spend years of their lives learning it all!) but the basics boil down to these 8 principles.

These are the basic principles of design that designers learn in their first year at design school, and use literally every day in every single piece of design that they do. But if you're doing it yourself, or building your brand on a budget, we've got you covered.

When you're going through the brand identity design process, or if you want your posters to pop; your Insta stories to stand out; your website to wow, these are the secrets to success:


How typography and other graphic elements line up with each other and the environment they're in. Usually left, right, or centred. You probably won't notice when something is aligned, but you definitely will when it's not!

In this example, the design elements on the left are aligned vertically with one another, making it cleaner and easier to read. On the right, the design elements are misaligned. They don't line up and it looks messy. You can align or misalign things to make them feel a particular way.


Arranging design elements in a way that implies importance through scale, colour and composition. Something bigger, brighter, and higher up is going to seem more important than something small, dark, and low down.

The title in this graphic is much bigger, bolder, brighter, and higher up than the other text. That makes it more likely for you to read that first. You can use these strategies to guide the viewer around the graphics that you're making and the information that you're sharing.


Using colours, textures, sizes, fonts, and other graphic elements that are drastically different to help create visual interest. When everything is the same, a design can be bland and boring, but contrast makes it engaging.

The design elements on the left use contrasting colours, fonts, and sizes to make them more engaging. The elements on the right are all the same colour, font, and size, making it less dynamic.


Repeating the same or similar design elements to create unity, consistency, and cohesiveness. Repetition, pattern, and rhythm emphasise your point and help create a sense of reliability and comfort for the viewer.

Each of these Pinterest graphics are for different articles, but the Maker & Moxie logo is repeated on them all, which creates consistency and reinforces that these are all from the same brand.


Putting related items together, and making sure that unrelated items are separated to give structure and clarity to a layout. Elements in close proximity seem connected and become one visual component.

Each set of design elements are grouped together closely, and separated from the other, to make it clear what goes together and what doesn't.


Distributing graphic elements so that the design feels balanced. Balance can be symmetrical or asymmetrical, or you can intentionally make something off-balance to create the effect of movement or uncertainty.

These social media posts both use balance in different ways to emphasise a point. The graphic on the left is symmetrical, because each item is connected to the one next to it. The graphic on the right is asymmetrical to show that brand strategy is more than just one thing.


The use of color and combinations of colors to suggest specific connotations, create hierarchy between design elements, and/or make the viewer feel certain feelings associated with those colors. The color palette you use can make a big different to your brand.

The colors in this graphic are drastically different and convey drastically different things. Color has a lot of meaning and connotations attached to it, and can invoke a lot of feelings in the viewer. This makes it a powerful design tool for branding.


The space in a design is just as important as the graphic elements. This empty, blank space is called white or negative space. It draws the viewer's eye to the elements and helps to emphasise the design.

This graphic uses a lot of negative space to emphasise the text in the centre and draw the viewer's attention to it.

Now you have an idea of the fundamental design principles and how you can use them to make your brand pop! We can't wait to see how you use them.

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August 3, 2022





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