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Principle of Design - Alignment

This is one of the Principles of Design.

Allison Longcrier

on 17 February 2016

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Transcript of Principle of Design - Alignment

Principles of Design
is the proper
or state of adjustment of parts in relation to each other.

New designers tend to put text and graphics on the page wherever there happens to be
space, often
without regard to
any other items
on the page.
What this creates is the ,slightly-messy-kitchen effect-you know, with a cup here, a plate there, a napkin on the counter, etc. It doesn't take much to clean up the slightly messy
kitchen, just as it
doesn't take much to clean up a slightly messy
that has
should be placed on the page arbitrarily. Every item should have a
connection with something else on the page.“
Robin's Principle of Alignment states,
The principle of alignment forces you to be conscious-no longer can you just throw things on the page and see where they stick or fit.
Sloppy Alignment
Centerish Alignment
Good Alignment
When items are aligned on the page, the
result is a stronger cohesive unit.

Most readers won't consciously notice that
everything is lined up
neatly but they will
it when things are out of
Do you tend to
automatically center

A centered alignment
is the most common

that beginners use - it's
very safe, it feels
comfortable. A centered
alignment creates a more
formal look, a more sedate
look, a more ordinary and
oftentimes downright dull look.
The strong flush-left alignment gives the
report cover a more sophisticated impression. Even
though the author's name is far from the title, that invisible line of the strong alignment connects the two
text blocks.
I'm not suggesting that
you never center anything!
Just be conscious of the effect a centered alignment has - is that
really the look you want to
portray? Sometimes it is; for
instance, most weddings are rather
sedate, formal affairs, so if you want
to center your wedding announcement, do so consciously and joyfully. Look at the differences in each of these.
This is the kind of
layout that gives
"centered" a bad
name: Boring
typeface, type that is
too large, crowded text,
double Returns,
dorky border.
A centered alignment needs extra care to make it work. This layout uses a classic typeface sized fairly small (relatively), more space between the lines, lots of white space around the text, no border.
Notice how we can take a boring center alignment, and not only be able to apply multiple alignments but give a more dynamic appearance by adding a “circle” that the mind thinks everything “should” be centered in.
This text is justified. Some people call it quad left and right, and some call it blocked - the text lines up on both sides. Whatever you call it, don't do it unless your line length is long enough to avoid awkward gaps between the words.
In this paragraph it is difficult to tell if this text was centered purposely or perhaps accidentally. With a full paragraph of text, you should NOT center it. In a paragraph, with the rags all different on both sides makes it difficult for your brain to concentrate on what you are reading.
This text is flush left. Or you can say it is left aligned.
This text is flush right. Or you can say it is right aligned.
This text is centered. If you are going to center text, make it obvious.
Even a piece that has a good start on a nice design might benefit from subtle adjustments in alignment. Strong alignment is often the missing key to a more professional look. Check every element to make sure it has a visual connection to something else on the page.
Can you see the subtle differences and how they made this piece just a little cleaner and more organized?
Find a Strong Line and USE It!
There is a nice strong line along the left edge of the type, and there is a nice strong line along the left edge of the image - you can see the pink dotted line I drew along those edges. Between the text and the image, though, there Is "trapped" white space, and the white space is on awkward shape, which you can also see with the pink dotted line. When white space is trapped, it pushes the two elements apart.
Now the strong line on the right side of the
text and the strong line on the left side of the image ore next to each other, making each other stronger, as you can see by the pink lines I drew. The white space now is floating free off the left edge. The caption has also been set against the same strong line of the edge of the image.
When discussing Alignment we are not only talking about text. We are talking about
ALL Alignment!
is an important concept in design.
To make all the elements on the page appear to be
unified, connected, and interrelated, there needs to be
some visual tie between the separate elements. Even if the
separate elements are not physically close on the page, they
can appear connected, related, unified with the other information Simply by their placement.

Take a look at designs you like. No matter how wild and chaotic a well-designed piece may initially appear, you can always find the alignments within.
The Basic Purpose
The basic purpose of alignment is to unify and organize the design.
It is often a strong alignment (combined, of course, with the appropriate typeface) that creates a sophisticated look, a formal look, a fun look, or a serious look.
How to get it?
Be conscious of where you place elements. Always find something else in the design to align your element with.
Good alignment is invisible.
Left Aligned
Right Aligned
Center Aligned
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