Web Design

The Crucial Element & Concepts of Visual Style

Visual style has to do with producing and making the basic visual appeals of an item constant. To develop the visual design of a site or app, we deal with basic aspects of visual style, organizing them according to concepts of style. These aspects and concepts together form the foundation of visual style, and a company understanding of them is important in producing a visual style of any item.

Here, we’ll present you to the aspects of visual style: line, shape, negative/white area, volume, worth, colour and texture. While a close evaluation of each component is normally not essential in your everyday work as a designer, the concepts of style– how to position the aspects together to develop pages and app screens efficiently– play a vital part in your function. Knowing how to accomplish unity, gestalt, hierarchy, balance, contrast, scale, supremacy, and resemblance will reward you time and once again. Here, we will likewise reveal you how you ought to think about positioning these important visual aspects to make the optimum effect. So, let’s start.

Aspects of Visual Style

Any item– from software such as sites and apps to hardware items such as toasters and hairdryers– can be broken down into basic aspects of visual style, as explained by Alan Hashimoto, associate teacher of Graphic Style and Computer System Art at Utah State University, and Mike Clayton, director and associate teacher of Computer system Graphic Arts at the University of the Incarnate Word, in their book, Visual Style Fundamentals: A Digital Method These aspects are the standard tools that we visual designers utilize in our everyday work, and having a standard understanding of them is absolutely a requirement for the task.


Lines are strokes linking 2 points, and one of the most standard component of visual style. We can utilize them to develop shapes, and when we duplicate them, we can form patterns that develop textures.

Teo Yu Siang and Interaction Style Structure, CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

A line links 2 points and is the most basic component of style. Put it in this manner, you can’t disrobe any lower than a one-dimensional things on the planet of style. (In science, you can, however that’s another story.)

Although basic, lines can have a big range of residential or commercial properties that permit us to communicate a series of expressions. For instance, lines can be thick or thin, straight or curved, have consistent width or reduce, be geometric (i.e., appear like they are drawn by a ruler or compass) or natural (i.e., appear like they are drawn by hand).

Teo Yu Siang and Interaction Style Structure, CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

Lines are basic, however can communicate various feelings by utilizing various residential or commercial properties.

A line can likewise be suggested: that is, recommended by forming an undetectable connection in between other aspects. In the logo design of the Interaction Style Structure, for example, the words “Interaction Style Structure” around the tree link to develop a semicircular implied line.

Teo Yu Siang and Interaction Style Structure, CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

The words “Interaction Style Structure” form a suggested semicircular line in our logo design.


Shapes are self-contained locations, normally formed by lines (although they might likewise be formed by utilizing a various colour, worth or texture). A shape has 2 measurements: length and width.

Teo Yu Siang and Interaction Style Structure, CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

We can form shapes utilizing lines (as above), or by utilizing distinctions in colour, texture or worth.

We tend to determine things by their standard shapes, and just concentrate on the information (such as lines, worths, colours and textures) on closer assessment. For this factor, shapes are important aspects that we designers utilize for fast and reliable interaction.

Negative/White Area

Unfavorable area (likewise referred to as white area) is the empty location around a (favorable) shape. The relation in between the shape and the area is called figure/ground, where the shape is the figure and the location around the shape is the ground. We ought to know that when creating favorable shapes, we are likewise creating unfavorable areas at the very same time. Unfavorable area is simply as crucial as the favorable shape itself– due to the fact that it assists to specify the limits of the favorable area and brings balance to a structure.

Teo Yu Siang and Interaction Style Structure, CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

Unfavorable area, likewise called white area, is the empty location around a favorable shape. You can select to see this as a blue ball set versus a light blue rectangular shape– or, is it a light blue rectangular shape with a hole in it?

Some styles utilize unfavorable area to develop intriguing visual results. For instance, the popular World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) logo design uses the confusion in between favorable shape and unfavorable area to develop the image of a panda.

World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Fair Usage

WWF’s logo design does not clearly extract the whole panda: it skillfully utilizes unfavorable (white) area around the black shapes to recommend the remainder of the panda.


Volume uses to visuals that are three-dimensional and have length, width and depth. We hardly ever utilize volume in visual style, due to the fact that many digital items wind up being seen on a 2D screen, although some apps and sites do utilize 3D designs and graphics. (Technically, however, 3D images seen on a 2D screen are still 2D images.)

Teo Yu Siang and Interaction Style Structure, CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

Volume has 3 measurements: length, width and depth. This image is a simulation of volume in 2D graphics.


Worth, rather just, explains light and dark.

Teo Yu Siang and Interaction Style Structure, CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

Light worth vs. dark worth: worth explains lightness and darkness.

A style with a high contrast of worths (i.e., one that makes usage of light and dark worths) produces a sense of clearness, while a style with comparable worths produces a sense of subtlety We can likewise utilize worth to mimic volume in 2D, for example, by utilizing lighter worths where the light strikes the things and darker worths for shadows.

Teo Yu Siang and Interaction Style Structure, CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

Distinctions in worths develop clear styles, while styles utilizing comparable worths tend to look subtle.


Colour is an aspect of light. Colour theory is a branch of style concentrated on the blending and use of various colours in style and art. In colour theory, an essential difference exists in between colours that blend subtractively and colours that blend additively.

In paint, colours mix subtractively due to the fact that the pigments in paints take in light. When various pigments are blended together, the mix soaks up a broader variety of light, leading to a darker colour. A subtractive mix of cyan, magenta and yellow will lead to a black colour. A subtractive mix of colours in paint and print produces the CMYK (i.e., C yan, M agenta, Y ellow and blac K) colour system.

In digital style, where the item appears on a screen, colours mix additively, because the screen releases light and colours contribute to one another appropriately. When various colours are blended together on a screen, the mix releases a broader variety of light, leading to a lighter colour. An additive mix of red, blue and green colours on screens will produce white light. An additive mix of colours on digital screens produces the RGB (i.e., R ed, G reen, B lue) colour system.

Teo Yu Siang and Interaction Style Structure, CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

The subtractive mix of colours in paint and print produces the CMYK colour system. The additive mix of colours on digital screens produces the RGB colour system.

We utilize colours in visual style to communicate feelings in and include range and interest to our styles, different unique locations of a page, and distinguish our work from the competitors.


Texture is the surface area quality of a things.

Teo Yu Siang and Interaction Style Structure, CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

Texture can be developed by a duplicated pattern of lines, or by utilizing tiled pictures of textures. Above, the diagonal lines include a ‘grip’ result to an otherwise ‘smooth’ rectangular shape.

As a designer, you can deal with 2 kinds of textures: tactile textures, where you can feel the texture, and suggested textures, where you can just see– i.e., not feel– the texture. Many visual designers will deal with suggested textures, because screens (a minimum of as far as the cutting-edge had actually pressed them by the mid-2010s) are not able to produce tactile textures.

The app icon styles in iOS 6 and earlier imitate the shiny texture of glass to prompt users to tap them. Later On, Apple (in) notoriously presented a linen material texture to much of its interface. With the appeal of flat style (a minimalist design that includes tidy areas and two-dimensional, flat illustrations), making use of textures in visual style would considerably reduce by the mid-2010s– although they can still be really helpful.

Unidentified, Fair Usage

iOS 1-6 app icons include a shiny texture so that they appear like real buttons.

Unidentified, Fair Usage

Around 2011, Apple presented a prevalent usage of linen texture (which initially appeared on iOS) in all of its os.

Visual Style Concepts

The aspects of visual style– line, shape, negative/white area, volume, worth, colour and texture– explain the foundation of an item’s visual appeals. On the other hand, the concepts of style inform us how these aspects can and ought to fit for the very best outcomes. A lot of the concepts listed below are carefully associated and enhance one another.

Simply how crucial are concepts of style to a visual designer’s task? Partner and primary research study and advancement officer at the Applied Management Sciences Institute William Lidwell, in his landmark and commonly referenced book Universal Concepts of Style, discusses:

” The very best designers often ignore the concepts of style. When they do so, nevertheless, there is normally some compensating benefit achieved at the expense of the infraction. Unless you are particular of doing also, it is best to comply with the concepts.”– William Lidwell


Unity relates to producing a sense of consistency in between all aspects in a page. A page with aspects that are aesthetically or conceptually set up together will likely develop a sense of unity.

Teo Yu Siang and Interaction Style Structure, CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

An absence of unity in styles can develop a sense of anxiousness and turmoil. Our eyes govern our judgements.

When we’re creating sites, we can utilize a grid for accomplishing a sense of unity, because aspects arranged in a grid will follow an organized plan. We do require, nevertheless, to present some range in our operate in order to strike a balance in between a boring and a disorderly style.


Gestalt describes our propensity to view the amount of all parts instead of the private aspects. The human eye and brain view a combined shape in a various method to the method they view the private parts of such shapes. In specific, we tend to view the total shape of a things initially, prior to viewing the information (lines, textures, and so on) of the things.

Teo Yu Siang and Interaction Style Structure, CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

Gestalt is the factor that we can see a square, circle and triangle although the lines are not total. We see the entire formed by the dotted lines initially, prior to viewing the different dotted lines in each of the images.

The WWF logo design, revealed previously, is an example of using the concept of gestalt to develop intriguing styles. By positioning the parts of a panda near one another and tactically, the style uses our propensity to see the entire of an image instead of its parts, thus producing an impression of a panda.

Gestalt is essential, for example, in making different areas of a site unique by increasing the white area in between them. As designers, we ought to make certain that the parts of a site we organize together by utilizing gestalt concepts– i.e., if they are close to one another, have the very same shape, and/or are likewise sized– are undoubtedly conceptually organized together. “Mistakenly” organizing aspects which are not conceptually comparable will lead to baffled users.

Teo Yu Siang and Interaction Style Structure, CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

Styles with clear areas are simpler to process and scan than those without clear differences in between areas– particularly if the areas are conceptually unique.


Hierarchy reveals the distinction in significance of the aspects in a style. Colour and size are the most typical methods we can develop hierarchy– for example, by highlighting a main button, or utilizing bigger typefaces for headings. Products that appear at the top of a page or app likewise tend to be considered as having a greater hierarchy than those appearing listed below.

Teo Yu Siang and Interaction Style Structure, CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

Typeface size and design is among the methods to develop hierarchy.


Balance is the concept governing how we disperse the aspects of a style equally Well balanced styles tend to appear calm, steady and natural, while imbalanced styles make us worry.

Teo Yu Siang and Interaction Style Structure, CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

Well balanced styles appear steady, while imbalanced styles appear unsustainable and abnormal.

Balance can be attained by having balance in the style (for example, having a website with centralised text and images). Nevertheless, you can likewise accomplish balance without balance– possibly unsurprisingly, this is referred to as unbalanced balance. We accomplish unbalanced balance when we organize in a different way sized aspects in such a way that leads to unity. We can envision a centre point of the style and disperse the aspects in such a way that produces balance.


We utilize contrast to make an aspect stand apart by controling distinctions in colour, worth, size and other elements. For example, as designers (be it in logo style, UI style, and so on), we typically utilize the colour red to make sure aspects stand apart. In iOS, red typically appears in the “Erase” action to represent that an (typically) permanent action will happen. On the other hand, green is typically something we utilize (a minimum of in Western style) in favorable actions such as “Go” and “Accept”– hence highlighting that we can not neglect the cultural significance of colours when creating for contrast. If you’re creating for a customer in a far-off land, find out about and change your work to comply with the cultural factors to consider. For example, ask yourself, “Is their red fortunate or upset?” or “Is their black professional or funerary?”

Teo Yu Siang and Interaction Style Structure, CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

Red, a colour with high contrast, is utilized commonly in iOS for the “Erase” function.


Scale explains the relative sizes of the aspects in a style. By utilizing scale to make an aspect bigger than others appearing with it, you can emphasise that component. Not just can you make an aspect stand apart in this manner– you can likewise utilize scale to develop a sense of depth (because nearer things appear bigger to the human eye). Overstated scales of images likewise include a particular level of interest and drama to them.

Teo Yu Siang and Interaction Style Structure, CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

Scale can be utilized to develop a hierarchy for and include focus to particular aspects on a style.


Supremacy produces focus on a single component. We can utilize colour, shape, contrast, scale, and/or placing to accomplish this. For example, many sites have a primary “hero” image, which utilizes supremacy to interest users, drawing them to it naturally.

Teo Yu Siang and Interaction Style Structure, CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

Supremacy can be developed by utilizing placing, shape and colour, amongst numerous other elements.

When operating in visual style, we ought to make sure that we utilize supremacy while still keeping the unity and balance of sites– if not, the style would possibly produce a disorienting experience for users.

Examples of Visual Style Aspects and Concepts

With the aspects of visual style and style concepts in mind, we will evaluate a couple of sites to see how they come together, and why the styles work.

Google’s homepage

Google’s homepage is among the most gone to websites on the planet. The raw simpleness of the page is partially why it is so well developed, however here are other elements that make this page work magnificently:

Google Inc., Fair Usage.

  • Supremacy: The big Google logo design and search box provides it supremacy, making it the core (and to most, sole) focus of the whole page.

  • Contrast (and colour): Google’s logo design utilizes brilliant (primarily main) colours, and these mix well, forming an aesthetically pleasing logo design. The logo design likewise has adequate contrast versus a white background, making it stand apart on the page.

  • Forming: The search box utilizes a rectangle-shaped shape to define the search field, making it really functional.

  • Unfavorable area: Google’s homepage is primarily constructed out of unfavorable area, that makes the search box (the primary function of the page) the centre of attention. The unfavorable area likewise works well for the page, as it imitates a blank sheet of paper prior to users key in their search terms.

  • Balance: The page is nearly vertically in proportion, leading to a sense of balance that is really pleasing and calm to take a look at.

Quartz’s homepage

Quartz is a digital-first and mobile-first news firm with an international audience, introduced in 2012 by Atlantic Media, which likewise releases The Atlantic It has a strong homepage that puts the highlighted newspaper article front and centre. Here’s how the concepts of style and style aspects come together:

Quartz, Fair Usage.

It’s simple to appreciate the result as a whole without looking past it at the nuts and bolts– the aspects that are set together so well and according to olden concepts so regarding develop that ‘wow’ result.

  • Supremacy: The primary newspaper article right away captures your eyes due to the fact that its big, strong typeface makes it dominant on the homepage.

  • Hierarchy: The homepage utilizes a clear hierarchy to develop the relative significance of numerous aspects. The primary story, with the biggest text and bolded weight, has the greatest hierarchy. The next 4 stories, placed listed below the primary story, have smaller sized typefaces to reveal their secondary hierarchy under the primary story.

  • Scale, worth and colour: Quartz’s homepage includes a big (complete page height) “Q”, which is a mask of the hero image for the primary story. The big “Q” rapidly develops the identity of the site (because “Q” means “Quartz”) with making use of scale. Nevertheless, the relative light worth and greyscale colour of the “Q” makes it fade into the background, hence bringing the total focus to the heading of the primary story rather.

  • Unfavorable area: The majority of the homepage is unfavorable area, which permits the material to shine through. When the mouse is brought over the primary story heading, the “Q” mask vanishes, filling the unfavorable area with the included image. This is an example of how a special play of unfavorable area can promote interest in a site’s style.

  • Unity: Quartz utilizes a grid system in its site to develop a sense of unity. For example, the 4 stories have equivalent width and are consistently spaced, producing a sense of orderliness and structure.

The Remove

The aspects of visual style comprise the basic foundation of an item. While we as visual designers do not truly require to analyze each component carefully in our everyday work, the concepts of style– how to position the aspects together to develop pages and app screens efficiently– do play a vital part in what we do. Knowing how to accomplish unity, gestalt, hierarchy, balance, contrast, scale, supremacy, and resemblance will be incredibly helpful as you operate in visual style.

So, utilizing your aspects, particularly:

  • Line

  • Forming

  • Unfavorable area

  • Volume

  • Worth

  • Colour

  • Texture

and tailoring them around the concepts, particularly:

  • Unity

  • Gestalt

  • Hierarchy

  • Balance

  • Contrast

  • Scale

  • Supremacy

— will allow you to produce winning outcomes regularly.

References & & Where to read more

Alan Hashimoto and Mike Clayton, Visual Style Fundamentals: A Digital Method, 2004

William Lidwell, Universal Concepts of Style, 2003

Digital Communications Department in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Being Solutions, Visual Style Essentials.

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