Tags : Web Design

Fundamental Design Basics

Tags : Web Design

We all understand that there is good design and there is great design, and of course awful design. But we try not to ponder on that one for too long. In order to keep up with great design Ive compiled a list of fundamental basics  which ‘should’ be adhered to.


A well designed site contains one of the three basic types of balance: Symmetrical, asymmetrical and mosaic. Symmetrical layouts tend to be vertically centred with equivalent sides. They lend themselves well to formal layouts such as menus or wedding invites. Asymmetrical balance is more informal and dynamic, using a variety of sizes and shapes, along with well calculated white space. This tends to evoke feelings of modernity and movement. Mosaic design is what I like to refer to as ‘pizza’ design…layouts with too much information, leaving little room for hierarchy and a confusing mixture of messages.


The conscious use of colour to create hierarchy, dominance, and balance in a design can be very effective. A site using a predominately dark palette will really strike at the viewer if it also makes use of a bright feature hue such as 100% yellow or cyan. However, these colours should be used sparingly to ensure they are effective and not oversaturated.

As Alexander White once stated: “Color should be used in the same way that type size is used: to emphasize importance, not decorate the page.”


One of the biggest mistakes non-designers (and dare I say it..professional designers too) can make is over using elements to fill in the gaps. The use of ‘white space’ or negative space is highly effective in the visual message, allowing for the elements to breathe and stand out amongst the other elements on the page.

Over using elements such as animated gifs, charts , photos and  other pointless graphics becomes what is sometimes referred to as ‘pizza design’ (see Balance paragraph). Everything and more…with the lot! Just pile it on!

Learn to pull your elements back, leaving well composed white space to frame and make you design stronger. Less is more. Less is more. Less is more.

This of course is just the beginning, but starting with a few principal rules will lead you on the path towards clean, well grounded design.