What is Composition?

In many ways, layout and composition are the building blocks of design. They give your work structure and make it easier to navigate, from the margins on the sides to the content in between.

Why is composition so important? In short, it’s the way your content is arranged. It doesn’t matter if you’re working with text, images, or elements in a graphic; without a thoughtful, well-composed layout, your work would basically fall apart.

The key to mastering layout and composition is to think like a designer. Luckily, it’s easier than it sounds. There are five basic principles that can help you transform your work and sharpen your eye for design. Keep them in mind during your next project, and look for ways to apply them.

Five basic principles

1. Proximity – Nguyên tắc Liền Kề

The proximity principle is the idea that placing similar design elements close together produces a more effective visual design. This is because the physical location of each item in the design creates a spatial relationship with other features on the page. In practice, it’s pretty simple—all you have to do is make sure related items are grouped together (for instance, blocks of text or elements in a graphic, as in the example below).

Groups that are NOT related to each other should be separated to visually emphasize their lack of a relationship. All in all, this makes your work easier to understand at a glance, whether it’s purely text or something more visual.

2. White space – Khoảng cách

White space is an important part of every composition. Now, this doesn’t mean literal white space; it just means negative space, like the spaces between your content, between lines, and even the outer margins.

There’s no one way to use white space correctly, but it’s good to understand its purpose. White space helps you define and separate different sections; it gives your content room to breathe. If your work ever starts to feel cluttered or uncomfortable, a little white space might be just what the doctor ordered.

3. Alignment – Canh hàng

Alignment is something you deal with all the time, even if you don’t realize it. Whenever you type an email or create a document, the text is aligned automatically.

When aligning objects by yourself (for instance, images or separate text boxes), getting it right can be tricky. The most important thing is to be consistent.

It might help to imagine your content arranged inside of a grid, just like the example below. Notice how there’s an invisible line centering each image to the text? Each grouping is also evenly spaced and aligned, with equal-sized margins.

It’s this attention to detail that makes the composition easier to navigate. Without consistent alignment, your work could start to feel disorganized.

4. Contrast – Tương Phản

Contrast simply means that one item is different from another, it could be contrast in colors, in sizes or in shapes. In layout and composition, contrast can help you do many things, like catch the reader’s eye, create emphasis, or call attention to something important.

Contrat is also used in graphic design to give shapes or objects better visual weight and balance the whole design, it is also used to organise all the graphic elements present in your graphic design project at the same time that you can use typography contrast to organise text and enhancing the most important parts of it.

5. Repetition – Nối tiếp

Repetition is a reminder that every project should have a consistent look and feel. This means finding ways to reinforce your design by repeating or echoing certain elements.

Repetition in graphic design refers to a process of repeating different graphic elements from your design and place them through the design composition to give a more unified look to it and adding more consistency to your design.

This design uses the “O” part of the logo and repeats it to get the reader’s attention used from the “Boston” logo. If your logo has an aspect of it that can be repeated, this is another great way to introduce repetition into your design while making your logo more included.

Hope you find this blog post about Layout and Composition useful and help you to create better graphic design projects and learn how to focus the most important elements from your design. If you want to learn more about Visual Hierarchy principles you can check these articles.