Principles Of Design

The principles of design are theories or guidelines. Principles are abstract and used to evaluate the elements of design. The principles are scale, proportion, balance, rhythm, emphasis, and harmony.


Scale is the actual or relative size of the space, form, or pattern. Human scale determines the perception of largeness or smallness. Large scale may create the feeling of grandeur and small scale may be playful or child-like.

Proportion is the relationship of the parts to the whole and one another.

Balance is the visual or physical equality of the components. Symmetrical balance is also known as formal balance and is created by using matching items on either side of a central point. Asymmetrical balance can be created by using dissimilar objects with the same visual weight on opposing sides of a central point. Radial balance is based on a central point and items are placed at an equal distance from the center in a circular pattern.

Rhythm is the concept that the design can guide your eye around the space at a particular pace. Repetition as the name suggests utilizes similar items around the space. Alteration is a pattern in a motif. Progression or gradation is the use of size to guide your eye (small to large). Transition is the actual use of an uninterrupted line use to guide rhythm. Contrast is the use of abrupt change to intrigue the eye to explore the space. Radiation is the use of flowing curvilinear lines.

Emphasis; creating a strong focal point in an interior design can draw and maintain your attention. The other elements within the space will accent the focal point. A large room may have multiple focal points creating visual interest.

Harmony is the combination of the principles and elements to create a unified perception of the space. It is achieved when the parts work together to produce a cohesive feeling about the design.