Design Principles: Line

Lines can be delicate or aggressive, directional or meandering, representational or abstract. Lines do much more than delineate a shape. They have rhythm. They have motion. They can fill space, enclose space, or create negative space.

Negative Space

negative space

Let’s talk about white space—or more accurately, negative space, because it doesn’t have to be white.



The most obvious sign of professional design is the use of alignment. Invisible axes give structure to a page.



One fundamental design principle is hierarchy. A design should have one dominant feature. One thing that catches the attention of your audience. Subordinate to that can be one or two or several supporting concepts. If they’re still looking, the next level is to add details. You might have additional levels in your hierarchy. At the […]

Become the Creative Force in Your Life

Where will your path lead?

Book Review: The Path of Least Resistance by Robert Frtitz What does a musical composer know about creativity that he can teach the rest of us? Robert Fritz knows enough to be able to say, “You can be the predominant creative force in your own life.” My own experience bears this out.

Strategic Adjectives


When in the beginning stages of a design, I recommend using descriptive words before you settle on colors and imagery.

Great Design Puts People First

everyday things

Book Review: The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman Have you ever been confused by a piece of technology? We know electronics can be complicated, but what about the shower in a hotel room? If you have failed to figure out how something works, you are not dumb. The fault is with the designer! […]

Spotlight on Saul Bass

vertigo lettering by Saul Bass

A prolific and groundbreaking designer, Saul Bass designed posters for the film industry, including many Hitchcock films. His clients loved his kinetic hand-lettering so much that they asked him to create movie title sequences. His breakthrough approach turned a boring list of credits into a mini-film that set the emotional tone for the feature that […]

Design to the Rescue at LaGuardia

La Guardia restroom

The restrooms got a major makeover at LaGuardia Airport, reports the Wall Street Journal: The design is getting a lot of attention. Instead of a countertop that typically is wet and dirty, trough-style sinks have an outer edge that slopes down toward the drain. There’s a shelf above for bags, but no countertop for puddles. […]

Design Tips for Programmers

Design tips for programmers: before and after

The line between back-end and front-end programming is not always distinct. Many times programmers have to make design decisions on the fly. This guide is intended to help avoid the worst transgressions. As with all rules, there are exceptions—but leave those up to the professional designers.

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