Essential visual design principles for web designers

Every design seeks to either create a sense of unity among disparate elements, or creatively break that unity to encourage a particular action. The principles covered here will help you do both.

Every visual design seeks to either create a sense of unity among disparate elements, or creatively break that unity to encourage a particular action.

Thankfully, there are a few simple but powerful guidelines for creating — and disrupting — unified designs. Who do we have to thank for that? The Gestalt psychologists.

If you’re not familiar, it’ll help to understand that gestalt means:

A structure, configuration, or pattern of physical, biological, or psychological phenomena so integrated as to constitute a functional unit with properties not derivable by summation of its parts

(Sounds kinda like a website, right?)

Basically, the Gestalt psychologists were searching for a way to explain how human beings arrive at meaningful (and/or delusive) perceptions in a chaotic world. And through that effort, they identified 4 core concepts that describe how human beings’ interpret visual data.

These 4 fundamental principles expand into 13 specific rules of thumb about visual experiences, that we can all keep in mind to create better designs.

Here are the 4 core principles:

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