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The 6 Principles of Visual Hierarchy

If you’re a designer, you know the importance of creating a hierarchy in your work. But what are the principles that govern visual hierarchy? In this post, we’ll explore the 6 key principles of visual hierarchy and how you can use them to create compositions that are both visually appealing and effective. Let’s get started!

What is Visual Hierarchy?

Visual hierarchy is the way in which we arrange the elements on a page in order to give them importance. The most important elements are typically given the most prominent placement, while less important ones are positioned further down or to the side. This arrangement helps viewers to understand the hierarchy of information on the page and makes it easy for them to find what they’re looking for. In addition to placement, other factors such as size, color, and contrast can also be used to create a visual hierarchy. By carefully considering these elements, designers can ensure that their pages are easy to navigate and that viewers can quickly find the information they need.


Why is visual hierarchy important in design?

Most people are visual learners, so it should come as no surprise that visual hierarchy is an important element of design. When used effectively, visual hierarchy can help to guide the viewer’s eye through a piece, highlighting the most important elements and making the overall message more clear. In general, there are three main ways to create a visual hierarchy: use of size, use of color, and use of placement. By careful manipulation of these three factors, designers can control the way viewers interact with their work. So next time you’re looking at a design, take a moment to consider the visual hierarchy being used – you may be surprised at how much it affects your experience.

Visual hierarchy, mental models, and user expectations
As any good designer knows, visual hierarchy is essential for creating an effective design. The way that elements are arranged on a page can have a big impact on the way that users interact with and understand a design. By carefully considering the arrangement of elements, designers can ensure that users will be able to quickly find the information they need and understand how to use the design. Additionally, designers need to take into account user expectations when creating a design. Users come to a design with certain ideas about how it should work, and if a design doesn’t meet those expectations, it can be confusing or frustrating to use. By keeping these principles in mind, designers can create designs that are both effective and easy to use.

Mental Modes:

When designers talk about mental modes, they’re referring to the different ways that we process information. Some modes are more suited to certain tasks than others. For example, when we’re trying to come up with new ideas, it’s often more effective to use a mode that’s more flexible and open-ended. Once we have a few ideas to work with, we can then switch to a mode that’s more focused and precise in order to fine-tune our designs. Mental modes are constantly shifting and changing as we interact with the world around us, and being aware of these changes can help us to design more effectively.

User Expectations

When it comes to design, users have certain expectations. They want things to be visually appealing, easy to use, and functional. If a design fails to meet these basic expectations, users will quickly become frustrated and may even abandon the site or product altogether. That’s why it’s so important for designers to really understand their target audience and what they are looking for. Only then can they create a design that will actually meet user expectations.


The 6 Principles of Visual Hierarchy:

1. The principle of proximity states that objects that are close to each other are seen as being related.

2. The principle of similarity states that objects that are similar to each other are seen as being related.

3. The principle of closure says that we will see shapes even if they’re not complete, as long as the overall shape is recognizable.

4. The principle of continuation states that our eyes follow lines and curves in a predictable way.

5. The principle of focal point says that we focus on one or two specific elements in an image, and everything else becomes less important.

6. The principle of Gestalt grouping says that we group together similar objects because it’s easier for our brains to process information this way.

Final Thoughts:

Applying the principles of visual hierarchy to your design can help guide viewers through your content and make sure they’re taking in the information you want them to. next time you’re designing something, whether it’s a website or a presentation, keep these ideas in mind to make sure your message is getting across loud and clear.


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The 6 Principles of Visual Hierarchy