Exploring ten important design principles in motion design.

Peace Solomon
4 min readJun 16, 2022

Motion design has always been something I found exciting, and I have decided to give it a shot. Learning motion design for me at this time is to spice up my UX skills and allow me to create better and more fun experiences for my users. And, of course, trust me to document my learnings. I started my motion design journey by following a guide map that a friend who is a badass at motion design created on Twitter. You should check it out if you are also exploring motion design.

I am currently taking the Mograph Mentor’s free course:- Motion Design 101: A Free Kickstart Guide, which has been really fun. I think it is because I am taking it at my own pace as I learn better that way.

Ten design principles are deemed crucial in motion design in the course, and I will explore them briefly in this article. They include rhythm, proportion, variety, emphasis, unity, repetition, alignment, proximity, balance and contrast.

Rhythm uses recurring or repeated elements in intervals to create a sense of movement. It helps you guide your viewers’ eyes to move how you want them to see your design and the experience you want them to have. There are three types of rhythm: regular, flowing and progressive.

A picture showcasing rhythm in visual design.
A picture showcasing rhythm in visual design, gotten online from Outcrowd.

Proportion describes how various design elements are sized and scaled in relation to one another with respect to their quantity or degree, thereby creating a sense of harmony. This can also be used to create balance and emphasis in a design.

A picture showcasing proportion in visual design.
A picture showcasing proportion in visual design, gotten online from ux360. You can easily tell which is the bigger object.

Variety appreciates beauty in the diversity of elements, and structures in design, whether they are complex or not. How do you add flavor to your design to make it more interesting?

A picture showcasing variety in visual design.
Simple, beautiful capturing of variety by EnvatoTuts.

Emphasis captures what a designer wants the viewers to focus on while experiencing a design, using lines, shapes, colour, texture etc. What is the focal point of your design? How do you contrast it with other elements to make it stand out?

A picture showcasing emphasis in visual design.
Emphasis is created through the use of colour, found on Pinterest.

Unity creates a sense of belonging among visual elements employed in a design. It is like that friend in a group that ensures that everyone fits into the group perfectly and the group feels complete. Unity can be created through the use of shapes or proximity to send a clearer message.

A picture showcasing unity in visual design.
Shapes are used to create unity.

Repetition means using the same design element multiple times to create a whole. It helps to establish consistency or add emphasis to a design.

A picture showcasing emphasis in visual design.

Alignment involves arranging visual elements in a design in such a way that it establishes organization, balance and structure. This is one thing I tried to perfect when I started learning UX design.

A picture showcasing alignment in visual design.
Alignment positions by Maria Althoff.

Proximity, one of the Gestalt principles, means grouping elements closely to establish a relationship in a way that the designer’s message is communicated clearly and in a simple way that our brains can understand.

A picture showcasing proximity in visual design.
Proximity in visual design.

Balance describes the arrangement and distribution of visual elements to establish stability and order in a design. You know how sometimes you take a look at an object and everything just feels right, balance was created. You need to make intentional decisions about the visual weight of the elements in your design. I enjoyed reading this detailed article on balance.

A picture showcasing balance in visual design.
Depiction of balance by InVision.

Contrast means creating differences between visual elements to emphasize importance and hierarchy. It is also used to make a design more visually appealing and interesting.

A picture showcasing contrast in visual design.
Pictorial description of contrast.

This should give a brief insight on the design principles you need to prioritize if you want to jumpstart a career in motion design. There are more detailed articles online on each of these principles so you should definitely check them out! The course tutor advised to practise drawing representations of these principles on your own so you should do that ! Check mine out!

I am learning how to draw so don’t laugh at me too much🙈

I should probably write on colour basics next, I had fun learning about it in this course and the Futur’s. Let’s see how it goes! I really hope this article was helpful and enjoyable, see you soon x.

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