How to Recognize Good Design

If you think that you “just know” good design when you see it, then you’re probably a seasoned designer or creative professional with an intuitive sense of what makes creative work good. And while it’s true that design is subjective, there are ways to judge a design objectively. Good design follows the principles of hierarchy, balance, and movement.

Is There a Clear Hierarchy?

Visual hierarchy is the arrangement of design elements in order of importance (think headings, subheadings, and body text). All good design has a clear visual hierarchy. When evaluating a design, look for variation in size, scale, and color to indicate varying degrees of importance. It should be immediately evident which parts of the design are more significant than others. If you can’t tell the heading from the body text, it’s not a good sign.

Is It Balanced?

Balance is the distribution of visual “weight” within the design. Just like visual hierarchy, it is achieved through the strategic use of size, scale, and color (among other attributes). Good design balances the weight of all the elements so that the viewer takes in the entire composition rather than fixating on one particular element. An imbalanced design will feel “off-kilter, inconsistent, and unsettling.” A balanced design, on the other hand, will feel harmonious and pleasing to the eye.

Is There Movement?

Movement is crucial to good design. It’s the critical component that leads your eye from the most essential element to the least essential. It requires both hierarchy and balance. In a good design, there is a clear path for your eyes to follow. This sense of movement turns a static image into a story told through visual elements. In most business settings, this movement naturally leads you to the call-to-action (“CTA”).

Good Design Is Not Necessarily Great Design

Whether or not a design contains all three of these qualities (hierarchy, balance, and movement) is a basic litmus test for determining whether or not the design is good. Great design, however, requires more than just these foundational principles. A design can be good without being great, but it can never be great without meeting the basic requirements of good design.

At Diace Designs, we don’t just settle for good; we aim for truly exceptional. It’s why our clients rely on us for their most important projects. If you need superior design work, give us a call.


About Kara Franco
Kara writes copy that speaks. She has a knack for creating clear, compelling messages without wasting words. She is passionate about digital marketing and believes that copy is the cornerstone of user experience.

Copywriter + Content Strategist
Kara@diacedesigns.com