Examples of Graphic design principles?

Hello my friends, I was studying about individual graphic design principles, which are as follows -

1) Balance
2) Rhythm
3) Repetition
4) Proximity
5) Contrast
6) Alignment
7) Hierarchy

I have been trying to search for real-world examples where all these graphic design principles are applied. I want to some resources (perhaps a book) where each of these principles are demonstrated in detail with various examples.

There is a book I bought few months ago which explained the four principles (3,4,5,6) very well. With lots of examples, such as a business card - before and after applying the principles, the book wonderfully covered all the 4 principles. The book was “Non-Designer’s Design Book”. I must say this book is excellent in demonstrating the principles. I want similar kind of books (but for all 7 principles)

There aren’t a set number of design elements or principles. The list you’ve written isn’t inclusive. For example, you’ve left out texture, kinetics, color, proportion, form & counter form, value, variety, line, space, etc.

I’m sorry, but I don’t know of any specific book that comprehensively covers them all. The ones I used way back in my student days are probably not what you’re looking for.


Well, I’m desperately looking for a useful resource from where I can learn everything about design principles (with examples, of course). By the way, how have you learned about all these principles (the one I left out)? I can’t go to college now to get a formal education in design. All I can do is to read books or any online resource.

I didn’t know about “counter form”, and kinetics as such. I am going to search for them on Google now, but I’m sure, there will come few lame examples with small circles, rectangles and they will show by arranging them how that particular principle works in composition. But that’s not how we design for our clients right?! I

You learn that stuff in a directed study course. Like school. Trying to learn graphic design on your own, you don’t know what you don’t know.

I think the only textbooks we had in my college GD course were those big huge expensive History of Art things. And I’m pretty sure we had the Chicago style guide and the Pocket Pal. All of the theory was class notes and learn-by-doing for in class critique.


Form and counter form = positive and negative spaces
Kenetics = Movement, whether actual or implied

Most designers don’t consciously think about formal design principles while they’re working. They’re sort of after-the-fact explanations of how this or that composition works or doesn’t work. The thought processes related to the compositional and aesthetic aspects of graphic design are largely intuitive.

It’s a bit like playing a musical instrument. When starting out, everything seems awkward, complicated, and frustrating. With practice and experience, the basics are mastered and become second nature without much conscious effort being put into those basics.


There was a book I had to buy in one of my introductory courses during college called “Design Basics” 9th edition by Stephen Pentak.
I just checked Amazon… the e-book is $41.07

It goes over design principles: what you have listed in your post. As well as Design Elements: which are basically all the things that Just-B mentioned in their post. All with excellent visual examples.


Design Basics is a solid book. I used it in my classes when I was teaching. It’s been around for 40 years and is a popular university textbook in the US. Current editions of textbooks are very expensive. Look for an earlier edition and you’ll save a lot.

Keep in mind it’s not a graphic design book and it won’t show examples of brochures, flyers, ads, etc… but it does go through and enumerate and illustrate the principles of art as they relate to 2-dimensional design.

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Principles of Form and Design by Wucius Wong is what I read in my first university design workshop. It has everything you are looking for and includes exercises I believe.

You have Design Principles:
Balance, contrast, emphasis, rhythm, repetition, movement, and unity.

And then the Design Elements:
Color, value, texture, line, space, shape, and form.

Oh, yes, “Non-Designer’s Design Book” is one of my favorites! You could check out “The Graphic Design Idea Book” by Steven Heller and Louise Fili. It covers a wide range of topics and it’s full of beautiful examples!