Simple Graphic Design for the Classroom Tips for creating attractive and effective images or graphics

Basic Principles

The principles of design are proximity, alignment, repetition, and contrast. The principles govern the relationships between the elements used in the design and organize the composition as a whole. Successful design incorporates the use of the principles to communicate the intended message effectively. They help designers organize the images and type on the page, so that it feels more comfortable to viewers and makes a greater impact.


The Principle of Proximity states that you group related items together, move them physically close to each other so the related items are seen as one cohesive group rather than a bunch of unrelated bits.

The first business card has 5 separate elements which compete for the viewer’s attention. In the second, your eye does not know where to look first. In the first and second, the information is not organized and is lacking proximity. In the last example, by grouping related information together, the design becomes more clear and organized.


New designers tend to put text and graphics on the page wherever there happens to be space, often without regard to any other items on the page. The Principle of Alignment states, "Nothing should be placed on the page arbitrarily. Every item should have a visual connection with something else on the page." When items are aligned, the result is a stronger cohesive unit. The basic purpose of alignment is to unify and organize the page.

First image, competing alignments (left and center) is not a good example. Second image demonstrates left and right alignment, create balance. Third image's center alignment works as does last image's left alignment.


Like the use of repetitious hooks in a song, repeating elements in a graphic design can be visually appealing. Repeat visual elements of the design throughout the piece. You can repeat colors, shapes, textures, spatial relationships, line thicknesses, fonts, sizes, graphic concepts, etc. This develops the organization and strengthens the unity.


The idea behind contrast is to avoid elements on the page that are merely similar. If the elements (type, color, line thickness, shape, space, etc.) are not the same, then make them very different. Contrast is often the most important visual attraction on a page--it's what makes a reader look at the page in the first place. It also clarifies the communication.

Classroom Web Tools for Creating Classroom Content


Williams, Robin (2014-11-20). The Non-Designer's Design Book (Non Designer's Design Book) (p. 95). Pearson Education. Kindle Edition.

"5 Basic Principles Of Graphic Design You Take For Granted Everyday." MakeUseOf. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Feb. 2016.

Are, The Principles Of Design. BALANCE ALIGNMENT PROXIMITY CONTRAST REPETITION WHITE SPACEThe Principles of Design Are Balance, Proximity, Alignment, Repetition, (n.d.): n. pag. 27 Feb. 2016. Web.


Created with images by janeb13 - "pc computer apple" • Hans - "egg colorful easter eggs" • OiMax - "alignment" • Magnascan - "peas pod pea pod" • gabrielfam - "colors color pencil" • FirmBee - "ipad mockup apple"

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.