10 Rules of Composition You Must Keep in Mind

Introduction to Rules of Composition

Having the most beautiful graphic elements in the world won’t work and would go useless if your composition is not up to the mark.

This means that the composition is considered highly important, for any design regardless of the fact that it’s the design of a mobile app or simply some custom bakery boxes.

But before talking about tips and techniques and the rules which you have to keep into consideration while forming a composition, let’s talk about what actually composition is.

So, basically when all the separate elements like your images, your graphics, and your colors come together to form one whole design.

Great and successful composition means that you have combined, aligned, and arranged all your elements in such a way that besides looking good, they function effectively and efficiently as well. Great compositions never happen by luck.

Being persistent about your ideas, a good plan, patience, and sound knowledge of what you are working on are required.

There are a lot of things to consider when creating a composition. Especially if you are a beginner, it would require a lot of effort and time to do such a task.

You will keep doing mistakes and will continue correcting them, resizing, and re-making things. Sometimes, it can tire you but do not give up and continue going because always remember that the expert was once a beginner.

Anyways, here you would read about those rules that you should keep in mind while mastering the art of composition.


The first and utmost thing that the designers need to keep in their mind while forming composition is a strong focal point.

The benefit of having a strong focus point would be that your composition would directly catch the attention of your viewers and all your audience. The important pieces of your composition would be noticed and observed first by the viewers.

Basically, the main goal of any composition is to communicate the idea, the information or the knowledge, any feeling or emotion which is linked with your design or any specific story that you want to convey to your viewers.

So, you must make sure to choose the focal point or the design in a way that communicates the story in the strongest and most effective tone.

There are several techniques used by the designers to draw the focus while making a composition and these include contrast and leading lines.


A very important thing to be kept in mind is that while working on a composition and expecting good results, choose something you are good at and have enough knowledge related to that specific thing. Pick something that is of interest to you as well as to others.

This way your work will become more popular and the success rate is expected to be high. A good composition should have the exact main subject that you feel connected with.

This way you will create more eye-catching photos and compose useful stuff. Highlight your main subject in the composition. This can be done in many ways.

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Either make the background dark so that the subject stands out or put more light on the main subject so that it becomes the focal point. Composing your photo in a way that there are strong lines leading to the main subject will enhance it.

Using these techniques will make your primary subject stand out and it becomes much easy for people to look at and relate to.


By putting on various lines on different important positions of your design, you can actually have control over the viewer’s viewpoints and where actually the viewers direct their attention.

You can take the example of a flowchart into consideration. Because flowcharts include lines that direct your eyes from one point to another. The leading lines in a flowchart can also show you some pieces of information.


Having a good command of scale and hierarchy is very important because these two are those fundamental elements that can either enhance your designs or completely mess up them.

So, hierarchy is the arrangement of elements in a way that signifies their importance visually. The more important elements or texts can be made bigger and prominent while the lesser important elements can be kept smaller and fainter.

The scale is used for the purpose of communicating hierarchy by drawing attention either towards the elements or away from the elements.

If you tend to use any scaled-up image as your largest element, this would show that you want to grab the attention of your viewers.

The scale is also used to maintain the typographical hierarchy. The scale is something that you can handle all by yourself; it provides you with a design proportion and gives a sense of size.

By using the scale, you can either make the things big and bold or you can keep them tiny and intricate. Various different effects can be made or created by using this feature of scale.


Creating or managing a balance between your elements is a pretty important thing. You should be able to maintain a perfect balance between your designs. Let’s discuss the two most important types of balance and how to have a command over them.

Let’s discuss the first type which is the symmetrical balance. Symmetrical balance, by using your symmetry creates a balance in the design or in your composition.

It can create a strong balance between your elements by reflecting on the certain design elements and how they should be from left to right or top to bottom. Using symmetry can make your designs clean and maintain a beautiful balance between them.

Asymmetrical balance, as the name says itself, creates a sense of balance between the elements without symmetry. By scattering and dispersing the elements purposefully, an asymmetrical design can be created.


Complementary colors and complementary contrast are the common terms used and known by almost everyone but what actually complementary elements in the compositions mean?

Complementary elements are those elements that are purposefully selected and put together in your design because these parts complement the whole.

One most common mistake that the designers make is putting those elements together which don’t complement well with one another.

So if you are using several images or elements in your composition, make sure that they go well with one another and look effective and cohesive. Here are a few tips which can actually help you while placing the elements together.

  1. Color your photos similarly

Coloring your photos in a similar and equal tone can create a neat effect. This would determine your professionalism and would show how good you are at your work.

  1. Choose your photos that are shot in a similar way

Choosing photos that have similar patterns and designs can actually help you in looking good if put together and would complement each other well.


An incredibly helpful tool when it comes to highlighting anything important in the design or even when hiding certain elements.

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By increasing the contrast of the elements in your design, you want to direct the attention of your viewers towards that particular element.

Likewise, if you lower the contrast of any element, you want to fade it into its background. High contrast colors can be used by the designers to enhance and highlight the focal images and the important pieces of information.

Contrast can be used purposefully to either adjust the focus towards a certain element or to direct it away from it. Highlighting certain elements can create meaning within them.


Repetition is key to a good composition. If you want to make a design that is logical and more understandable, try to take specific sections of design from one part and apply it to other parts to give the composition a homogenous look.

Try using graphic motifs repeatedly. Be mindful of using the same font size and style, limited colors, and alike designs.

Repeating sections or parts of your layout/design will keep a flow between your work and gives a more presentable look.

One can take simple examples from novels and magazines. The basic format of every magazine is the same. The difference lies only in the written content, images, and colors.

This repeated format attracts users more and they are able to read it with good interest. The same thing goes for novels. Here we talked about multi-page layouts.

Remember that repetition is also a crucial element when it comes to designing simple cards of one page or a single page layout. Working with the same colors throughout gives a very vibrant and theme-oriented work. Sounds more like professional work.

By repeating graphic elements, your design seems well built and gives more coherence to the work. Take the example of an invitation card that is uniform in design and a few colors are selected as a color theme that is repeated throughout.

This kind of card will attract you more than the one with no color theme, having different designs and patterns, and no coordination among the elements.

Such a card has lost its coherence. In short, keeping limited and well-coordinated colors and similar size and patterned font, the composition gives a beautiful and lively look and creates a good impact on people.


Bear in mind the fact that white space must be present in a composition so that all the minute details and sleek design of the composition are highlighted.

It gives more clarity to the design. The viewer’s eye is satisfied because more content and very little space can make things complicated and messy.

White space adds sophistication to the image or writing. Calibrate your image and graphics correctly to make spacing more appropriate. Also, don’t fill the white space with more content because white space is not an empty space.

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It is there in the composition for a purpose and fulfills its role of adding more life to composition. While creating a design, eliminate the unnecessary parts from it so that it gives a better and unique look.

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Alignment means proper positioning of things. It means to bring something to a straight line for a good arrangement. It refers to lining up the top, bottom, sides, or middle of a text and grouping of graphic elements on a page.

When designing a composition that consists of many elements, don’t just put them all in a place because it gives a very chaotic look and displeasing look.

Align these elements in a proper way so that the composition gives a smart and elegant look. Stronger the alignment, the more stylish the look. Alignment gives a pleasing look to the eye.

Alignment in a proper way creates order among elements and orderly things always impress people. If the composition is really good and there is no proper alignment, believe me, the composition loses its value.

Alignment is a very necessary part of the presentation and can add a lot to its value and price. I will state an example.

For instance, someone comes up with a very creative and unique idea and expresses ideas in a form of writing that is full of grammatical mistakes and errors.

The words have been misspelled. No matter how good the idea is, no one takes interest in such a piece of writing and all the creativity goes in vain.

You can predict the importance of alignment from the above example. Alignment has different types and one must keep knowledge of how and where to use them. The main types are left alignment, right alignment, and center alignment.

Texts can be aligned in any of these mentioned ways but for long writings, left alignment is the most appropriate type. It gives users the satisfaction of a properly written work and also keeps them focused.

Grid pattern

A grid is a structure made up of a series of intersecting straight or curved lines used to structure content. Designers can use grids as a framework to organize graphic elements.

One should use a grid pattern if you want to make your design look more accurate. This helps in giving the designs a little more structure and pattern.

If you are a beginner, a grid pattern is a method to work with. This will make the work very easy and error-free and saves time a lot. This rule is not only limited to beginners but experienced workers can also try it out.

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