Studio 2D | Design Principles
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Design Principles

Design Principles: Unity

One of the most basic design principles is unity. Unity brings diverse elements into a cohesive whole. The image above is unified by color and shape.

7 Design Principles Inspired by Zen

What do all of the most memorable and beloved designs have in common? It’s not just innovation, creativity, or simplicity alone. Whatever it is can’t be distilled down to only one factor. Matthew May ( writes that the key to excellent design may be described by seven principles inspired by Zen Buddhism. These principles, which he names “the shibumi seven,” pinpoint those elements that can’t fully be described by one English word.READ MORE


Shape communicates on flat surfaces and in three dimensional spaces. Shapes do not exist by themselves; they have color, texture, transparency, scale, and perhaps patterns and motion. Beyond the basic shapes described here is a lot of room for complexity and interaction. This is to get you started thinking about shape.READ MORE


When you have more than one thing grouped together, keep them parallel. A simple example: in a list of actions, use the same verb tense for each. In a more complicated work such as a movie or novel, parallelism helps the audience know how diverse characters and timelines relate to each other. In the visual arts, parallel elements have the same weight or color. Parallelism is a unifying concept that tells the audience what elements are congruent.

Design Principles: Texture

Derived from the Latin word meaning “to weave,” texture arises from interwoven parts. In the visual arts, a tactile quality is created by weaving or layering materials. In music or literature, sounds or words are interwoven to create the texture. The word also describes the surface of a work.



The most effective way to draw attention to something is to contrast it with something else. A dark object looks even darker against a white background. A sweet passage of music sounds even sweeter when it follows a discordant passage. Including contrast in your work also keeps your audience interested. By avoiding monotony, their interest will not flag. The unexpected is fun for people to experience.