The eight laws of design


1- law of Unity

All parts of a layout should unite to make a whole. This unity can be disturbed by an irritating border, too many different and conflicting typefaces, badly distributed color, disproportionate elements, or ‘busy’ layouts containing a confusion of parts.  

2- law of Variety

Nevertheless, there should be change and contrast as with bold and medium weight of type, or good use of white space. The advertisement should not be monotonous, and grey masses of small print need to be relieved by subheadings. Variety can also be introduced by the use of pictures.  

3- law of Balance

It is essential that an advertisement should be well balanced. The optical balance is one-third down a space, not half-way. A picture or headline may occupy one-third, and the text copy two-thirds, so achieving an optical balance. The symmetrical balance falls mid-way so that a design can be divided into equal halves, quarters and so on, but care should be taken not to divide an advertisement into halves which look like separate advertisements. 

4- law of Rhythm

Even though a printed advertisement is static it is still possible to obtain a sense of movement so that the eye is carried down and through the advertisement. A simple devise is to indent paragraphs of text (as in a book or newspaper report) so that the eye is led from paragraph to paragraph. But the general flow of the overall design should be pleasantly rhythmic.  

5- law of Harmony

There should be no sharp, annoying and jerky contrasts – unless perhaps that is the deliberate intention as in some kinds of store or direct response ads which use bombastic shock tactics. Normally, all the elements should harmonies, helping to create units. 

6- law of Proportion

This applies particularly to the type size used for different widths of copy: the wider the width (or measure) the larger the type size, and vice versa. A narrow advertisement needs larger text type, unless the type is set in columns. 

7- law of Scale

Visibility depends on the scale of tones and colors, some appearing to recede, others appearing to advance. Pale, pastel colors recede while bold, primary colors advance. Black looks closer to the eye than grey, and red is the most dominant color. Black on either yellow or orange is very bold whereas white on yellow is weak. The law of scale can be used with typographic design when headlines and subheadings are made to contrast with grey areas of text type. Where colors are concerned, this principle can be applied whenever full color is used in press advertisements, TV commercials, posters and packaging.  

8- law of Emphasis

The rule here is that all emphasis is no emphasis as occurs if too much bold type is used, or there are too many capital letters. A sentence in upper and lower case lettering reads more easily than one wholly in capital letters. Yet emphasis is essential, and this links up with the other laws of variety and scale. An advertisement can be made to look interesting if there is emphasis such as bold type or if certain words are emphasized in a second color. White space-daylight!-can also be an effective way of creating emphasis. Every inch of space does not have to be filled with words just because it has been paid for! One wonders how many people bother to read the pages of small print in the prospectuses for new share issues which appear in the financial times, or the tedious whole page advertisement crammed with small print which are sometimes placed by foreign governments. Another form of contrast is to reverse white on black, a method often used with logotypes and name-plates. Reverse color should not be overdone for it tends to reduce legibility. A bad mistake is to print a lot of text in white on a black or colored background.


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Louai Alasfahani

ANUBIS was a very old god of the ancient Egyptians, universally worshipped throughout the land and became considered the gatekeeper and ruler of the underworld; the “Guardian of the veil“ he was “Lord of the Cleansing Room” and the opener of the roads of the North. “He observed the weighing of the deceased’s heart against the feather of Maat [Truth] and reported his findings to the jury of the gods.


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