The principles of design suggest how a designer can best arrange the various elements of a page layout in connection to the overall design and to each other.
In landscape painting, principles of design might govern where the artist places the mountains or how many clouds are in the sky. In page layout, the principles of design govern how many colors are used, the sizes of fonts, how many columns of text there are, or whether pictures appear next to each other or spread across the page — creating effective and pleasing arrangements of text and graphics.
Commonly applied principles of design include:
how elements on the page line up with each other and with margins
the distribution of elements on the page
uniform use of design elements
differences between items on the page
creating a focal point
how close together or far apart items are to each other
use of the same colors, styles, shapes, or other elements and principles throughout a document
how well parts of the document work together (see proximity)
- white space
the use of emptiness to give a layout breathing room