the principles of design: proximity & unity

To date, we have looked at the principle of balance, and we now move on to our next principle… yet another very important element to good page design!


The second principle is PROXIMITY & UNITY:

When placing elements together on a page–whether it is a block of type, a series of images or both–it’s essential to pay close attention to where you place these elements, and how you bind them together. This is known as the principle of Proximity & Unity.

In other words, when we place related items close together, they naturally appear to belong to each other. Our brains will interpret them as a unit, and therefore due to their proximity, they become unified.

Often, when we have little or no training in design, we might place items on a page without paying much attention to how they relate to one another. This can cause a disjointed and confusing design.

Below we see two examples of the same page. The page on the left has its elements randomly placed, and it’s difficult to determine what belongs to what. The elements are scattered about and lack unification. However, the page on the right has all related elements placed closely together. This leads our eye easily through the layout and the message is clear. Our design is cohesive and effective!

So overall, its important to keep items that belong together, physically close together. Items that are not part of a group, can then be placed further apart.
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