UI Design

What Are UI Design Principles

To become a highly professional product designer, mastering UI Design principles should be one of your top priorities. But knowing where to start and how to focus on the right things can seem overwhelming and make you neglect to learn more about this crucial part of digital product design. 

Put your worries aside because, in this article, we’ll explain essential components of effective UI design, such as size, spacing, consistency, shapes, visual balance, and many more, so keep reading!

A person holding a judge's gavel


When speaking of UI Design principles, the size of elements plays a crucial role. So, when you design the elements you see on a screen, like buttons and text boxes, their sizes matter greatly. Bigger elements get noticed first and show what’s important, while smaller ones provide extra details. You can think of it as using different font sizes to highlight headings and regular text in a book. 

As a vital part of UI Design Principles, adjusting sizes helps create a clear order of importance, making it easier for users to know where to look and what’s significant.

One rectangle in a row is bigger than others


Another essential part of UI Design Principles is the space around different parts of a screen. 

It can feel messy and hard to read when things are too close together. So, having enough space between elements is like giving them some breathing room. That space helps people read the words and creates a pleasing look.

When designers stick to the UI Design principles, they ensure this spacing is the same everywhere. It’s mainly keeping an equal amount of space around each thing. 

Doing this makes it easier for your eyes to move around without feeling cramped. It’s similar to keeping a clutter-free and well-organized working desk, where everything has its place and helps you have a steady and pleasant workflow.

Two rectangles sitting on a grid, and arrow is measuring the space between


Alignment is another one of the vital UI Design Principles. With alignment, you make sure things line up nicely on your screen. In UI Design, clean and consistent alignment creates a feeling of organization and connection.

Following the UI Design Principles, designers pay careful attention to alignment. They ensure that different parts, like buttons and text, align well. 

This makes the whole interface feel like it belongs together, and users can easily understand how to use it. So, remember, alignment isn’t just about aesthetics; it’s an intelligent way to make the design feel smooth and easy to use.

A screenshot of a mobile app with lines showing hard and soft grid

Source: Tomorrow


One of the critical UI Design Principles is repetition. This principle means using the same design elements again and again in what you’re making. 

It’s similar to using the same shape or color for different buttons on a screen. When things look similar, it helps users remember and understand how to use them seamlessly.

By sticking to this UI Design Principle, designers ensure that the same elements appear in different places, which helps users move around smoothly. They also make the design feel like a pleasant journey – a stress-free and predictable experience for everyone who uses it.


In the UI Design Principles world, shapes play an important role. Imagine using different formations, like circles or squares, to tell a story; think about road signs – a sharp triangle warns you of danger ahead. 

In UI design, shapes work similarly. For example, sharp edges, like a “pay now” button, can make something look urgent. On the other hand, rounded corners give a softer, friendlier feel.By embracing the UI Design Principles, designers use shapes to send messages and create feelings. These shapes guide users’ emotions and thoughts as they interact with the design.

So, when designers use shapes wisely, they’re not just making things look good – they’re telling a visual story that users can understand and connect deeply with.

Preview of: Squares & rectangles, circles & ovals, triangles & arrows, diamonds


One of the fundamental UI Design Principles is contrast. It’s like using different colors or sizes to make things stand out. In UI Design, the contrast in design draws attention and adds excitement. By placing items with different colors, sizes, or strengths next to each other, designers make sure important things get noticed.

Embracing the UI Design Principles, designers play with contrast to create a visual harmony that helps users know where to look and what’s crucial. They’re not just making things look nice; they’re guiding users’ eyes and making the design more exciting and engaging.

Example of color and typography contrast

Visual Balance

If you want to create a seamless UI Design, achieving visual balance is critical. It’s finding the right spot for each thing so the design feels right. Visual balance prevents things from feeling too heavy on one side, making the design easy on the eyes. To achieve this, you need to distribute the visual weight of elements evenly across the design, pay attention to the contrast, and establish a clear hierarchy by emphasizing the essential elements of the screen. 

Following the UI Design Principles, designers ensure different parts, like text and images, are balanced. But visual balance doesn’t mean everything has to be perfectly centered or identical. As we already discussed, this principle also paves the way toward a coherent, painless design instead of creating a neat look.

Visual hierarchy

One of the cornerstone UI Design Principles is visual hierarchy. Visual hierarchy guides users through the content smoothly, just like a map. To achieve it, you must use different UI Design Principles such as sizes, colors, and alignment to help users know where to look first and how to navigate through the design. By prioritizing elements purposefully, you, as a designer, control the user journey, ensuring they see the most important things first and then quickly move through the design. 

You can achieve visual hierarchy by prioritizing size and placement, employing consistent styles throughout the interface, and utilizing contrasting colors. As you might already know, vibrant colors stand out against muted backgrounds, easily guiding users’ eyes to critical areas.

Example of a pricing plan with one plan being more prominent than others

Source: Wayyy

Light and Shadow

Making the most out of light and shadows is another one of essential UI Design principles. Knowing how to play with light and shadow allows you to add depth to your screens and breathe more life into the interactions. 

To achieve that, you must master the skill of subtlety and add gentle shadows to elements. Moreover, you need to ensure the lighting is consistent across all elements. 

Finally, you should never compromise readability – you must ensure text and other vital elements stay clear and readable against their backgrounds. So, when you adhere to the UI Design principles and master the interaction of light and shadow, you’re not just creating visual effects but making the design feel more natural and immersive.

Example of Figma's default shadow (bad) and one that is more natural (good)


In terms of UI Design Principles, consistency is crucial. It makes things look and work the same way across the entire design. Establishing consistency is vital because when the design is constant, users feel more at ease and trust that they’ll get a reliable experience.

Following the UI Design Principles, designers ensure that all parts of the design – from buttons to how things move – are consistent. It’s like speaking the same design language throughout, which makes the user’s experience intuitive. Designers build user trust by following principles such as consistency. It’s about showing that the design is reliable, making users more comfortable and confident while interacting with it.

It’s vital to note that consistency isn’t just a part of UI Design Principles; it’s the cornerstone that ties all elements together – from sizing and spacing to shapes and beyond. It’s about making choices that fit together and ensuring users recognize and trust your design across the board. For example, when designing a checkbox, you need to make sure that it looks like the previous checkbox your users have already encountered. 

So, remember, embracing consistency isn’t just crucial; it’s essential, especially for beginners. It’s the thread that knits your design into a seamless, recognizable, and trustworthy experience.

Source: Tomorrow


This is our take on what are UI Design Principles and what to take into account if you wish to master them! 

We hope you learned how size and spacing guide attention, alignment creates order, and repetition and consistency make things familiar. We’ve also delved into shapes, contrast’s impact, and how light and shadow add depth. These insights should help you design interfaces that connect with users and match brand identity.

If you need to cover more ground and want to elevate your skills, we highly suggest checking out our UI Design Mastery Bundle. This collection of highly-rated courses will help you master the art of crafting user-centric interfaces and fill any possible gaps at the pace you dictate.

For any additional questions regarding our UI Design Mastery Bundle or any other topic, please DM us on our Instagram or reach out via our contact form. 

We’d be more than happy to become your supporting companion on your road to a super-successful UI Design career!

Happy designing! 🥳


Kickstart your career in UI design by building solid UI foundations

Are you a beginner looking to start your journey into UI design? Or perhaps you’ve been self-learning for a while but aren’t quite confident you’ve grasped the basics?

You might like the following
Blog Articles