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Principles of Design

These are the tools that blend the ingredients for any design project. You can use all the design elements, but if you don't blend them with rhythm, balance, contrast, etc., then you don't have a cake. There are eight design elements that are pulled together by these eight design principles.

  • Balance - Balance helps the viewer decide how to interpret your design. If it's designed with asymmetrical balance, the design will evoke emotions like excitement, curiosity, or anxiety. If the design is symmetrical, or totally even, it will convey peace, calm, and tranquility.
  • Contrast - Without values, you can't create contrast. Without smoothness or roughness (or the illusion of those textures), you aren't dealing with contrast. You can use various design elements to create contrast. Without contrast there would be no day or night and without contrast you cannot create an interesting design.
  • Direction - Direction is the way to lead the viewer's eye through your design layout or composition. Direction is created by line, but it also can be created by the way you use color to lead the eye through a design. Shapes, spaces, values, and perspective all create the illusion of depth in two-dimensional design, and this depth is needed to create a direction for the eye to take that journey. In three-dimensional design those shapes, spaces, values, and perspectives are all used to lead people through a design.
  • Economy - If you can remove an element within a design and that design still works, then you've practiced economy in design. Don't offer more than is needed, but be sure to include all that is needed to create an intelligent and economical design.
  • Emphasis - You can lead that viewer all through your garden, through your building, through your advertisement, or through your painting, but if you don't stop that viewer with one point of interest, then you've lost your viewer. The emphasis in a design is the message that you want to convey.
  • Proportion - You can use proportion to create surreal images (like Dali) to shock your viewers into noticing your work. Or, you can use proportion realistically to emphasize the message conveyed through typography. Proportion gives the viewer a leg to lean on. In other words, a realistic composition creates a feeling of balance, whereas unrealistic proportions create a feeling of emphasis on the object that's out of proportion.
  • Rhythm - Repetition, rhythm, bam, bam, bam. While this principle of design can create boredom, it can also be used to create depth (one element smaller than the next), excitement or peace (contrast), or emphasis on a certain subject. Like music, rhythm keeps the world singing and dancing.
  • Unity - This is the principle that pulls a design together. While there's no one rule for unity, this principle can remind you to check all the other design elements and principles so that you know you haven't missed a tick in your plans.

Schools and Colleges offering design degrees:

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Graphic Design (BS)
  • Online and Bachelor's programs include B.S. in Advertising, B.S. in Web Design, B.A. in Interior Design, and more
  • Curriculum focus on preparing students for a creative career by teaching them the fundamentals of advertising and design
  • Students can choose from courses that cover areas such as advertising concepts, art direction, experience design, and online marketing
  • Over 50 locations nationwide, with a student support team dedicated to helping students grow
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
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Graphic Design, Bachelor of Science (Online)
  • Campus-based and online degrees include Computer Animation (BS), Digital Arts and Design (BS), Graphic Design (BS), and more
  • Students take ongoing portfolio courses that allow them to build and refine their design portfolio
  • Courses teach skills such as advertising, branding, visual messaging, and concept design
  • Curriculum combines elements of creativity, art, business and life skills, technical prowess, and academic achievement
  • Online Courses
Graphic Arts (AAS)
  • Students are issued a new laptop at the beginning of their programs.
  • All online services and study materials are available 24/7, with faculty available five days a week.
  • All programs available online, with the MBA program offered on campus in Salt Lake City.
  • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC), with programmatic accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC).
  • Approved by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) since 2010.

Our family of non-profit colleges admits students of any race, color, and national or ethnic origin.

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  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
Web Design & Development
ECPI University , North Charleston
Good for Working Adults

Making the decision to earn your degree and pursue your career goals could be the best decision you ever make. Enroll at ECPI University and you’ll join a collaborative and fostering learning environment, surrounded by faculty and staff who are there to support you through the entire process.


What sets ECPI University apart? Just ask the employers who hire our graduates. Since 1966, more than 3,800 employers have looked to ECPI for talented professionals who are capable of entering the workplace and doing the job right on the very first day. That’s because our curriculum is designed to meet the needs of today’s highly-specialized job market.

  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
Graphic Design - Associate in Specialized Technology
  • Committed to excellence in post-secondary education since 1982, with a rich history of helping students find successful careers.
  • Located in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania, the main campus spans 63,500 square feet.
  • Offers programs in business, design, criminal justice, and more.
  • Gives several benefits to alumni including national discounts and career services.
  • Part of the Delta Career Education Corporation.
  • Accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS).
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