Designers’ 10 Rules of Composition, Part 1

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01. Find Your Focus
We were all told in school, having focus is a very important thing. A key element to any good composition is a strong focal point, as it helps your viewers’ eyes naturally settle on the important pieces of your design first.

When choosing your focal point, keep in mind that the main goal of any design is communication.Whether you’re communicating an idea, some information, or simply a feeling or emotion, your design is telling a specific story, so be sure to choose a focal point that helps this story get told in the strongest, most effective way.

02. Direct the Eye With Leading Lines
Point at something when you want people to look at it, by positioning certain lines and shapes in certain ways you can control the viewpoint of your design, aka where viewers’ eyes go when they see your design.

03. Scale and Hierarchy
Scale and visual hierarchy are those creative fundamentals that can really make or break your designs, so it’s important to have a good hold on them to maintain a successful composition.

In a very brief explanation, hierarchy is the arrangement and design of elements in order to visually signal importance.

Scale is often used to help communicate hierarchy by drawing attention toward and away from certain elements, thus signifying their importance to the communication.

04. Balance Out Your Elements
1. We have symmetrical balance. Symmetrical balance does what it says on the tin – it balances your design using symmetry. By reflecting certain design elements from left to right or top to bottom, you can create a strong sense of balance.
2. More common type is asymmetrical balance. Asymmetrical balance is also a fairly self explanatory term, in that it concerns creating balance without symmetry.

05. Use Elements That Complement Each Other
One key element to a successful and effective composition is taking the time to carefully and purposefully select each element of your design so that each part complements the whole.

A common error in compositions is using images that don’t complement each other. So, when using more than one image in your composition, try to make sure that they all look effective and cohesive when grouped together. There are a lot of different ways to achieve this, here are a few pointers.

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