Effective design for marketing relies on good composition where all the elements work together.

Rounding up all the components for your design is step one in creating marketing materials. Gathering all the ingredients, or in our case all the content (copy, images, graphics, charts, etc.), is necessary to create a professional image.

There are plenty of programs and templates out there to help you arrange this content into a nice page layout. Still, they are only part of the solution. You need to develop an eye for arranging all your graphic elements into a pleasing or dynamic space. This is called good composition.

It is imperative to have good composition where all the elements work together using these principles of design: balance, contrast, emphasis, direction, and proximity.

The distribution and visual balance between the elements in your space provides a pleasing and organized appearance. The balance can be symmetrical or asymmetrical and aids in the flow of your design elements.

Contrast is exhibited when two elements are in opposition to each other such as black & white, large & small, thick & thin, soft & hard, etc. Contrast helps to add emphasis in design and, where text is concerned, helps with readability. Contrast plays an important role in composition.

Emphasis grabs a viewer’s attention. When all the elements in your space have equal visual weight, nothing stands out. Make your most important element dominant by emphasizing it through size, color, positioning, weight, etc.

Proximity is the positioning of elements relative to one another. When related elements are grouped together, they create a single thought. Elements in close proximity will appear related. Elements in far proximity will appear unrelated.

A design with good direction helps a viewer’s eye to easily flow through the space. Good balance, in conjunction with correctly positioned graphics and aligned text, plays a critical role. A good relationship between all elements creates direction.

“White space,” or blank areas that have no graphics or content, also plays an important role in composition. It helps the overall flow of elements and sets the table for Balance, Contrast, Emphasis, Direction, and Proximity to be effective.

Combine the 5 Graphic Design Principles for Marketing for good composition and effective communication.