Leveraging Principles of Art Theory for Visual Design

You want your learners to purchase into your instruction. You need to encourage learners that they need this details, and that their lives or professions will be superior because of it.

But here’s an awkward truth of the matter: Your learners silently (if you’re lucky) consider the reliability of your do the job dependent on how it appears, and they do so with staggering velocity. In accordance to UX journal, folks are inclined to decide the good quality of a solution inside of just 50 milliseconds of wanting at it.

Of training course, a slick PowerPoint deck by itself is not more than enough to obtain learning goals we know that the principles of tutorial design and style are the foundation of our function. On the other hand, quality visible design and style can help learners appreciate, engage with, and have an understanding of your content. Form will have to satisfy function for the most productive finding out outcomes.

So, how do we generate persuasive visible layouts, especially when we do not have a background in artwork?

Begin with the 6 ideas of layout: stability, sample, rhythm, emphasis, distinction, and unity. Just as educational style and design styles and methodologies condition your teaching system, so must these concepts condition your fundamental visible technique. By applying them, you can produce high-effects visuals. In addition, the ideas deliver you with additional specific language to critique visible structure when it is offered to you.

The 6 ideas of design and style are:

Image by Jordan showing Six Principles of Design: Balance, Pattern, Rythm, Emphasis, Contrast, Unity
  1. Stability: How visible aspects are dispersed in relation to an axis
  2. Pattern: How visual aspects repeat to build regularity
  3. Rhythm: How visible components repeat or alternate to develop desire
  4. Emphasis: How visible aspects do the job together to build a focal position
  5. Distinction: How visible aspects oppose each individual other to emphasize dissimilarities
  6. Unity: How visible features generate an general sense of cohesion

To understand how these rules are used with optimum effects, appear to the masters. Through background, the world’s finest artists have employed the 6 principles of structure to captivate viewers.

For instance, acquire a search at “The Faculty of Athens,” a fresco by Raphael.


Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino, The College of Athens, 1509–1511, fresco at the Raphael Rooms, Apostolic Palace, Vatican Town. Community Area image from Wikimedia Commons.

In this article, Raphael utilizes the design principle of stability. Regardless of not getting properly symmetrical, all the elements are arranged so that neither the still left nor the ideal aspect of the get the job done has dominance over the other. We see this when we spotlight the major features (pink), in relation to a vertical axis (black):


On either facet of the vertical axis, the arches existing mirror illustrations or photos of every other, columns are evenly dispersed, a marble sculpture seems near the outer edges, and the quite a few figures in the bottom 50 percent of the function occupy approximately the identical size and condition of house. Utilizing balance, Raphael depicts a big range of features with a huge assortment of shades, designs, and dimensions, without the need of seeming cluttered or disorderly.

Now, here’s an case in point of how to translate this principle to visual design and style in a company location.


This slide displays very poor stability in the key human body portion:

Making use of the very same things, the primary entire body of the slide can be reconfigured to present harmony according to a vertical axis:


But that’s just applying 1 design and style basic principle! Do you want to learn how to apply all 6 principles to your operate, or how to give much more precise suggestions to your designers? Be a part of me at
ATD TechKnowledge 2021 for my session: “Leveraging Concepts of Art Idea and Historical past for Visual Design.”