UX Design Process: Understanding Design Fundamentals

In this article you’ll learn about design fundamentals. We’ll talk about what a designer might want to express, and the visual decisions made to communicate the purpose of a design.

UX Design Process: Understanding Design Fundamentals

Starting Point

A good starting point is in understanding how to put elements together to create effective composition, in order to aid visual communication.

The elements are the “ingredients” of a design, and design principles guide how those elements fit together. Shape, color, size, and texture are some examples of design elements.

UX Design Process: Understanding Design Fundamentals

Putting together elements in an effective manner has to do with understanding several key principles in design:


Balance in design can be thought of as balance the physical world. A large shape close to the center can be balanced by smaller shapes on the edge of a page.


Contrast involves putting opposites side by side (light
and dark, foreground and background, etc). It creates visual interest and engagement which disrupts existing harmony in a design.


Proximity creates a relationship between elements, visually connecting them through a sense of “distance”.


Alignment allows us to create order and unity. Aligning elements visually connects them with each other.


Repetition strengthens a design by tying together individual elements. It helps to create association and consistency. Repetition can create rhythm and continuation.


Positive and negative space are very important in the realm of design. Space is the distance or area between, around, above, below, or within elements.


Having armed ourselves with the fundamentals of visual design, in the next article we’ll look at problem solving and testing. See you there!