MA01 – Design Principles


Most people have seen good and bad examples of design across various platforms. These can range anything from a nice logo, a eye catching poster to an engaging website. But what is it that makes one design better than another and what makes a customer buy one product rather than another? Is it just by chance or are there actual fundamental principles that result in a better design which engage a potential customer more? A design that looks good and makes one think – “wow what a great product.”  As we go through this time together we will learn some simple visual principles and visualise them. In the first part of the project you will need to to come up with your own ideas for each of the nine design principles presented below.

A few examples of principles can be found here Creative Bloq. Do some of your own research too.

  1. Figure / Ground: Foreground and background (Figure / reason: Foreground / background)
  2. Continuation: We follow guidelines (Continuity: We follow the lines)
  3. Closure: we fill in the gaps (Closeness: We fill empty rooms)
  4. Proximity: Association of near things (Grouping: We tie together nearby objects)
  5. Similarity: Linking of similar things (Similarity: We bind together similar objects)
  6. Symmetry: recognition and balance (symmetry: recognition of shapes and balance)
  7. Common Fate: Associated items busy togetherness. (Common Destiny: Associated elements traveling together)
  8. Prägnanz: Simple and clear (Brevity: Simple and clean)
  9. Regularity: Repeating pattern (Recurrence: Repeating / repeating pattern


  • Go online and research each of them, pick three principles that really stand out to you.
  • You are free to choose your own technique to illustrate each.
  • There are a few ground rules:  Each item will be made by hand with paper, pencil, a knife, paper and any other relevant materials and tools.
  • Each item must be be 25cmx25cm.



The principles I chose were Figure/Ground, Closure and Continuation. It took a lot of experimenting with shapes before I understood the concepts of the principles, and before I figured out which ideas were best. Here is the result of my work this week, and here is my report: ma01-report

Figure/Ground: foreground and background






I hope you like it. Constructive criticism is always welcome!


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