11 Rules of Composition for Non-Designers

October 29, 2020 | 0 min read


Getting the right components for your design is just half of the race to make a beautiful image. Next comes the part where you bring it all together to make a cohesive mix of shapes, colors, and calligraphy.

Sometimes, as a non-designer, you may look at a graphic and feel like it looks clumsy and might be driven to  think “this just doesn’t feel right.” At the same time, you may also look at another graphic, which looks attractive by default, and that might make you want to look more closely at its various components.

11 Rules of Composition for Non-Designers

Throughout this article, we’ll look at a few of the styles in which you can implement composition ideas to make it more successful, professional-looking visual content, with or without a background in layout.

Glorify brings you 11 Rules of composition for people who are not designers-

1. Decide a focal point

Amongst the most visible indicators of a successful design is the way your eyes are drawn to a central focal point. As in every other type of interaction, each design must have a central message and a specific objective. This cannot be easily achieved if the audience does not know where to look first which also indicates that there is no particular uniqueness that actively engages the viewer. A few of the unique features that you may customize in order to establish influence in the design include:

  • Size
  • Color
  • Shape
  • Depth
  • Value
Decide a focal point- rule of  design

2. Create a synchronised list

A good graphic design aims to guide the eyes of viewers in a particular direction. The very first move to this is to establish a visual starting point for your design using a focal point, as mentioned above. After this, you should create a direction for the eyes of your audience to follow by implementing other principles, such as the rules of visual structure, which directs the design of the elements in a way that expresses the cohesive value of each other.

Create a synchronised list- rule of design

3. Usage of direction lines

Another useful strategy for creating an attractive path with your concept is to use the so-called leading lines. Either subtle in the natural form of the objects or direct in the use of the actual lines; the paths are used to guide the reader’s attention to other features on the page.

Usage of direction lines -rule of design

4. Modify elements to create a niche

Another alternative way to show the relative value of the elements is to change the size of the elements. For instance, the most significant elements are typically larger and more noticeable than the non-valuable ones. In this way, the scale is used to assess the superiority or visual importance of the object. In an effective design, not all elements should get equal visual significance; if that is the case then, all the elements would all struggle for visibility, and the audience could never decide where to gaze first.

Modify elements to create a niche -rule of design

5. Equalise your components

In most situations, you’re going to want that there should be a sustainable balance in your design so that you could establish a visual cohesion. However, what really does “balance” signify when it comes to graphic design?

The principle of visual balance can be linked to that of reality in the physical world. Just like one very small person and another very large one sitting at the poles of a finely balanced seesaw, most audiences would be disinterested as this would be impossible. Just like in the real world, even a graphic image holds a visual weight defined by its size, color, and shape, amongst many other factors. For instance, a large circle would have a larger visual weight than a small one; or a flattering object would have much more importance than a leaner item.

Understanding this, you can attain cohesion in the design by using either balance or imbalance. While the former is often seen as cohesive and stable, it can also be perceived as dull due to its stagnant design. Imbalance, on the other hand, is not commonly seen as attractive, but can still be viewed as flexible and engaging.

Equalise your components - rule of design

6. Create distinctions to deliver message

Contrast is one of the most successful techniques to make some features of your design pop out. Being humans, amongst the first things our eyes detect is the variation or change, whether there is a distinction in color, form, texture, size, or location, amongst many other factors. By default, humans prefer to put together similar objects and to distinguish between those which are unique.

Create distinctions to deliver message - rule of design

7. Develop a coordinated look

You would want to bind the elements together to build and create a well-composed graphic. By using compatible features across the board, you can establish a sense of continuity and cohesion. The common thread is the use of shapes to establish viewpoints, both in the text and in three-dimensional, which can be formed solely from basic shapes of various shades and colors. For example, white flat icons are used on a vivid, colorful backdrop.

Develop a coordinated look - rule of design

8. Repeat foundation elements

Another way to create a coherent design is to reuse some of the popular features. In this way, the viewer identifies a visual structure and understands what to think next, particularly when designing a multi-page template.

Repeat foundation elements -rule of design

9. Use the negative space accurately

You may have noticed this one before, so negative space (or white space) is just as relevant to your design as positive elements. It has many visual functions: it allows the eyes of the user rest; it gives space for the visual paths that the eye can follow; it brings focus to the key features of your design; and it allows your design to appear tidy, elegant, and effective.

Use the negative space accurately - rule of design

10. Create grids to align the objects

Another approach to make sure that your design does not look unorganized and unattractive is to use grids to coordinate your components. So instead of merely looking at the location of your components, consider using a matrix to make your designs appear more coordinated and structured. They will also help you define your points of reference and map out the visual direction you want the eyes of viewers to take.

Create grids to align the objects - rule of  design

11. Rule of thirds

Ultimately, there is a very significant rule of thirds that you can adopt by easily splitting the canvas area into thirds, both horizontally and vertically. As per this basic theory, the main elements should be at the intersection of these lines. While not a concept to be practiced with every design, the third-party rule is beneficial in producing diverse designs that are not fully structured and angular.

Rule of thirds - Design rule

In Conclusion-

We hope our guideline helps you create a more impactful design. If you do happen to incorporate it and achieve a design that matters, we’d love to hear your feedback or resolve queries. And, if you would like to post your idea with us, please do not forget to send us a message in the comments section below.

FAQs – 11 Rules of Composition

1) What are the three essentials of a composition?

Every composition has three main vital parts: introduction, body, and conclusion.

2) What are the instances of composition?

The definition of composition is the technique of relating things together or the blend of elements or qualities. For instance- flower arrangement.

3)What is meant by composition OOP?

In object-oriented programming, the composition is one of the basic principles. This defines a class that uses instance variables to link one or more properties in other classes.


Get a snack packed with valuable info right inside your inbox.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

The only e-commerce focussed design tool

Create new FB Cover