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Jacci Howard Bear

How Many Principles of Design Are There?

By February 21, 2011

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There are six principles of design that I talk about the most on this site. But is that all? Not necessarily. Other lists include a few different concepts or they mix and match or rename these concepts in a slightly different way. Some that you may or may not be familiar with that are found in The Lost Principles of Design (Chad Engle at Fuel Your Creativity) include Directional Forces and Scale. He also talks about Emphasis & Subordination. Emphasis can relate to all the elements and principles of design. No matter how you slice it, the elements and the principles of design are, as Chad says, "the glue that holds the design industry together and to reach success, we need to learn these from the very beginning."

More principles of design:

  • John Lovett includes harmony and dominance. And he combines direction and scale into the principle of gradation.
  • Unity crops up in many lists of the principles of design, often paired with other concepts such as rhythm.
  • This list by Joshua David McClurg-Genevese focuses just on balance, rhythm, proportion, dominance, and unity for Web design.
  • CARP is a way of remembering these four principles.
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