Why Are the Elements of & Principles of Design Important?

Instructor: Temitayo Odugbesan

Temitayo has 11+ years Industrial Experience in Information Technology and has a master's degree in Computer Science.

In this lesson, we will look at what the Elements of Design and Principles of Design is all about and why its use is important when it comes to design and user experience.

What are the Elements of Design and Principles of Design?

Marissa, a web designer and Jonathan, an UX designer, have been hired by Good Clothes, an online sales store, to help redesign their eCommerce website, which has seen poor sales and patronage in recent times.

Marissa came up with some designs which focused on making the site more attractive visually through the use of radiant colors, attractive images and introducing audio and video to showcase the products on sale. Jonathan expresses doubt that such changes would impact heavily on the user experience of the website.

Jonathan's views were that the eCommerce website redesign should take into consideration, the target customers' profile, their purpose of logging on to the site, how the customers are expected to use the site as well as interaction with the various features to be introduced.

With different views expressed in the direction the website redesign should take, Jonathan's view would take priority over Marissa' recommendations. The user-friendliness of an eCommerce website is very important: will it allow customers to enter the site, and find what they are looking for in the least amount of time? This is why relatively uninterestingly websites are more popular than those that seem to be much more creative in their interface

Marissa's primary concern is centered on the elements of design , which is used as components in the design process and Jonathan's focused on the principles of design which defines how the components are put to use for a good user experience.

Elements of Design (EoD)

Elements of design are those features which are used to create designs to enhance the user experience. Lines, mark or point, texture, shapes and colors are some of the design elements to mention a few. These components are used collectively during the creation process guided by the principles of design and are made up of the following components:

Line: Continuous points joined together used to create visible shapes, enclosed areas or demarcations and mostly used to convey moods in user interface designs.

Mark or Point: This is the smallest and simplest of all design elements that can form patterns or delineated space.

Shapes: are objects(s) within enclosures to create interest or attraction in user interfaces.

Color: has three distinct properties - Hue (name of the color), Value (the relative lightness or darkness of any color) and Intensity (the purity of each color).

Texture: the surface roughness or smoothness of a design element.

Principles of Design (PoD)

Principles of designs guide the use of design elements in the creative process to improve or enhance user experience and are made up of the following:

Balance entails the equal use of two or more EoD in creating a design that has a harmonious relationship of the elements to each other.

Emphasis involves capturing the focus of a visitor or user on a user interface. It creates a stand-out portion which is not too distracting to the site visitor.

Movement allows the movement of the visitor's attention over design elements that lead him or her to the contents.

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