Design Fundamentals – Step-By-Step Tutorials for Beginners and Advanced Designers

Visual media from art to modern web design all follow a set of fundamental principles: contrast, balance and alignment; emphasis, hierarchy, repetition, white space movement and proportion are among them.

New designers looking to hone their craft require an efficient means of learning these fundamentals; more advanced designers may need a way to refresh their knowledge on a regular basis.


Lines are one of the cornerstones of design. Their subtle or bold presence conveys multiple cues such as direction, contrast, space, hierarchy or repetition.

Understanding these design fundamentals is the cornerstone of creating visually captivating compositions. Understanding alignment, balance, contrast, emphasis, proportion scale texture unity and movement is vital both for beginners and experts.

Heller and Anderson’s “idea” book provides an easy-to-read introduction to the fundamental principles of visual design. Its user-friendly language and numerous examples make this an invaluable read that features on our curated list of best design books. General Assembly also offers free classes designed specifically for designers, product managers, engineers, and entrepreneurs; their course will introduce students to basic elements of visual design as they relate to user experience.


Design fundamentals are the cornerstones of successful designs. Understanding these core concepts is integral to becoming a professional designer.

Lines are an integral component of visual design and can be used to convey movement or unify an overall composition. Their shape may be straight, curved, smooth or jagged; each style offers different emotions when perceived by viewers.

Utilizing lines effectively in web design projects is crucial for reaching desired effects. From designing logos for new businesses to building side hustle websites, taking the time to understand design fundamentals will enable more informed decisions as well as sharpen creative skills allowing you to explore various approaches and discover your individual style.


Understanding basic visual design elements and principles is essential for any designer, as this allows them to craft interfaces which are both aesthetically pleasing and functional for users.

These core design concepts of contrast, balance, emphasis, proportion, repetition, rhythm, white space movement variety unity all work together to form a coherent composition that conveys your message effectively. They form the basis of all visual mediums from fine art to web design.

No matter your experience or knowledge level in design, understanding these fundamentals will equip you with all of the tools necessary for producing high-quality designs that distinguish your business. By practicing them and seeing how they’re used by peers and competitors alike, this knowledge will allow you to identify what makes a design successful and use this insight to improve your own designs.


No matter your skill level or experience in design, it is crucial to learn and comprehend the fundamental visual design elements and principles. Understanding these rules allows us to create functional yet user-friendly designs.

Contrast, balance, emphasis, proportion, hierarchy, repetition rhythm white space movement variety unity are among the primary principles of good design. They help make great designs visually pleasing and meaningful to users.

This course will teach you how to integrate all these concepts into a design using various tools and techniques, as well as some key graphic design tips to assist with your own projects. The course is comprised of nine modules, with each taking approximately 10-11 hours of work; just click through for more!


Contrast is one of the key design principles for drawing attention, communicating ideas and producing visually attractive compositions. It can be applied in various forms – color, font size and scale can all play an integral part here!

Color contrast can help draw the viewer’s eye towards key design elements and establish hierarchy, but be wary of overdoing it or it may make your composition unreadable and hard to read.

Texture and shape contrast add depth and visual intrigue to designs, especially when working with large amounts of type. Be sure to incorporate enough white space (also known as negative space) for clarity and legibility purposes.


Design principles form the core of every visual medium, from fine art to modern web design; from font selection and compositional choices, to logos. Understanding these fundamentals of design is integral for any aspiring designer, as they influence one another.

Emphasis refers to drawing the reader’s eye directly towards an element within a design, typically through contrast or proportion; for instance highlighting “Reshape Industries” with a different color would create a striking visual that draws them in and sets a focal point within it.

This course is purposely tool-agnostic to allow students to utilize any design software (Photoshop, Illustrator or Sketch). Each lesson offers step-by-step instructions while offering deep insight into why certain tools are being utilized.


Hierarchy is an essential design principle, controlling how our eyes move across pages or screens. This technique enables designers to draw attention to certain elements while downplaying others, giving their design a specific focus.

Attracting visitors’ attention can be accomplished using many different techniques and elements, including size, contrast, alignment and more. For example, an element which stands out by being larger will likely grab our interest more readily than its counterparts on the page.

Color can also help to demonstrate hierarchy. Bright hues stand out more, drawing our eyes in, and appearing dominant over other hues – providing another means of creating visual order and hierarchy in designs.


As part of your design, it is crucial that you possess an in-depth knowledge of the principles that help to keep your designs stable and balanced, such as line, shape and form, contrast, hierarchy proximity alignment.

Alignment is a basic principle of design that can create a professional appearance while also suggesting information hierarchy. Skilled designers never place elements randomly; rather they utilize alignment techniques to establish structure and order.

Proximity is another organizing principle that helps organize designs, reduce clutter and make reading simpler for users. You could use proximity to group related words together or arrange text vertically; or even to draw attention to specific parts of a design by making certain aspects stand out more than others.


Hierarchy and rhythm are design principles that rely heavily on repetition; without it, hierarchy can be challenging to establish while rhythm remains hidden from view.

Repetition can help create harmony and unify any design. But it’s important to remember that repetition doesn’t equate to identical elements as this could become overbearing; for example, this infographic uses multiple repetitions of shapes and colors; yet each image differs.

These courses will develop your typography theory and composition skills, teach you to use Adobe tools, and understand graphic design principles such as alignment and repetition. Furthermore, logo design/branding practices as well as current/past trends in design will be explored throughout these five courses – each comprising modules lasting approximately one hour of work each. The Specialization comprises five courses.


Balance in design is integral to its overall effect. Like real objects, elements within designs have their own visual “weight.” Larger elements tend to weigh more, and smaller ones less so; with balanced elements, your design will feel secure and organized.

Balance can be achieved easily using symmetrical designs, which arrange equal-weighted elements either side of a center line. Asymmetrical balance may also be accomplished using contrast: for instance when one dark element is balanced out by several lighter ones around it.

Looking for more design fundamentals tutorials or are interested in exploring other forms of art making? With plenty of online options available today – such as starting a 14-day free Paperform trial today to practice your newfound abilities – there’s sure to be something here that meets your needs. To start building professional forms quickly with no credit card necessary!

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