5 Principles of Design in Advertising

Team Pepper
Posted on 13/06/224 min read
5 Principles of Design in Advertising
In order to build your brand image, you must know about the five principles of design in display advertising. Read on to know more.


Advertising design is a booming field. However, to communicate your message through display ads without causing a disaster, it is critical to understand the fundamental principles of design in advertising. All the fundamental principles of design work in conjunction with each other and not in silos.

Graphic design is significant in brand-building. Be it social media graphics, web pages, display ads design, or banners, your knowledge and understanding of design elements are mandatory. It is essential for designers to think outside the box and be creative. However, in advertising design, you need to follow certain rules to ensure the work is not just eye-catching, but also stable and balanced.

The principles of design are the foundation for creating visual mediums, from fine art to display advertising, from book covers to modern websites. This blog will guide you through the basic principles of design in advertising and help you make your next project stand out.

5 Principles of Design and Their Application

The principles of design determine how you arrange the various elements in connection to the overall design. These principles play a crucial role in conveying the desired message effectively. Let us look at the five principles of design in advertising.

1. Balance

a Pepsi ad


Would you put all your furniture in one corner of the room? No. Similarly, in designing, balance is always central. This balance is created through equilibrium and correct alignment. Balance doesn’t always mean symmetrical designs. In ads, it guides the viewer’s eye and helps them comprehend the message. It can be broadly classified as:

Symmetrical: in this type of design, the weight of the elements is divided equally either along the vertical or horizontal axis.

Asymmetrical: here, the elements may not be identical, but balance is created by the flow of the layout. The size, contrast, and color may vary, but the design contains similar elements.

● Radial: in this, the elements are placed in a circular pattern to give a sense of movement.

Symmetrical balance can be perceived as reputable, trustworthy, and high-end, but it may be monotonous to some. Asymmetrical balance, on the other hand, creates a level of tension between the elements, which makes it bold.

2. Proximity

Proximity creates a relationship between similar or related elements without cluttering the design. Through proximity, important design factors like color, font, and size, provide a visual connection to form perfect display ad designs. Placing the most relevant elements close to each other sends a visual signal to the viewer, and they, in turn, can interpret the important details of your display advertisement.



An ideal example is the Unilever logo. Where the miniature 25 icons are intricately woven together in close proximity to make the “U.”

3. Alignment

example of alignment in design


Alignment creates a sharp and ordered appearance for display ad designs. It creates a logical flow that pleases the eye and holds the viewer’s attention. It helps you structure your ad copy and visuals in a way that will make the design look finished. In most designs, center-, left-, or right-aligned text is commonly used. This principle of design generates not just clean lines, but also plenty of white space that appeals visually.

4. Repetition

This key to good design is unifying and strengthening all its elements. The basic rule of repetition mentions re-using certain key elements in the design. This will help the audience easily recognize and identify your brand. If the same color or font is repeated, it helps create a consistent design.

a KFC display ad


Repeating colors, fonts, text, or shapes can help tie your design together. Repetition also brings in a rhythm that creates a more organized and consistent look. It can be classified into two types: fluid (the flow is kept in a single direction) and progressive (there is a visual movement between different elements). For example, repeating the colors of your logo in every display ads design is a good idea.

5. Contrast

Contrast is another important principle of design in advertising. It takes place when design elements are placed in opposition to each other, such as dark vs. light, thick vs. thin, contemporary vs. traditional, large vs. small, etc. This principle of design helps create variety and guides the viewer’s attention to the most important part of the design.

a Nike ad on Facebook


However, too much contrast can create a distraction, and may dilute and even confuse the audience. To enhance the overall legibility of your design, it is crucial to maintain a balanced distinction between elements.

Understanding and implementing the basic principles of design covered above is crucial to the success of any display advertising effort. It is vital for designers to understand how each of these principles can impact their everyday work. Without an understanding of these principles of design, creating advertisements may require a lot of back-and-forths.

By following the above-mentioned principles, you can also provide an optimal user experience. All the elements of design should flow in harmony to tell a story through your display ads.


1. Why are the principles of design in advertising important?

The principles of design help you organize the different elements of the project. They also help drive a significant visual impact.

2. Why is harmony important in art?

Harmony, or the sense of continuity, creates a connection or flow among all the elements in a display ad design. This is not only an extremely critical element, but it also is the most versatile principle of display advertising.

3. Is graphic design a good career?

If you are creative and enjoy communicating through art, graphic design is a great career option. With the need for display advertising increasing in every industry, graphic designers have ample opportunities.

4. Is graphic designing easy?

An aptitude for art and design, as well as creative thinking, is the key requirement. Additionally, graphic design courses equip you with the knowledge you need to start a design career.