IXD101 – Core Principals

On Monday’s class, we explored a range of core design principles that would help us when creating our designs.

Golden Ratio

The Golden Ratio, which is closely related to the Fibonacci sequence, describes the symmetrical relationship between two proportions. Approximately a 1:1.61 ratio, the Golden Ratio can be illustrated using a Golden Rectangle. This is a rectangle where, if you cut off a square (side length equal to the shortest side of the rectangle), the rectangle that’s left will have the same proportions as the original rectangle.

The Fibonacci sequence is the sum of the two numbers before it, or Phi: 0,1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21 etc… When you turn the sequence into squares and lay them side-by-side to create rectangles, the Golden Spiral starts to form.

Rule of Thirds

We then moved on to look at the Rule of Thirds. This is a technique used to create aesthetically pleasing and balanced designs. It follows the rule that placing objects in the “thirds” of an image, rather than the centre, is much more pleasing to the eye. The image is divided into nine equal parts, like a grid.

It is used to determine where to place the most important elements on a design, and elements such as position, scale and negative space. The human eye, on average, scans these areas of a screen first:

This helps to create a more efficient and user-friendly site, since you are aware of where the user’s eyes will fall first.

Gestalt Principles

We also looked at the Gestalt Principles, which are a group of principles of visual perception developed by German psychologists in the 1920’s. It attempts to describe how people perceive visual elements built on four ideas:

  1. Emergence – the general outlined form of an object.
  2. Reification – the recognition of objects even with some parts missing, where our brains fill in the gaps.
  3. Multi-stability – interpreting two ambiguous objects in one image, where one is usually more dominant.
  4. Invariance – the recognition of the same object from difference perspectives, despite their different appearances.

The Gestalt Principles, which influence and form modern UI/UX design, are as follows:

  • Proximity
  • Similarity
  • Continuity
  • Closure
  • Common Fate
  • Figure and Ground
  • Focal Point

We used these principles to look at and recreate some our favourite apps on Figma, which I have posted my next blog post.


I enjoyed what we learned during this lecture, as it informed me on the key design rules and principles, and has helped me to see that there is so much more that I should consider when designing ideas. I will be able to use what I have learned in my future work, to make it more aesthetically pleasing and user-friendly.



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