How to Improve Aesthetics in Visual Design

All of us have our own sense of aesthetics. Anything that pleases our eyes is what we call as ‘beautiful’. A good user interface or visual design is one that captures the attention of a user. A unique combination of design elements adds a ‘wow’ factor to it.

The key elements of visual design are color, shape, pattern, lines, texture, visual weight, balance, scale, proximity, and movement. The proper use of these elements helps us build a rapport with users and make them engage with the product. An aesthetically created visual design considers branding aspects, usability factors, and accessibility concerns. The cultural, ecological, political, and legal elements also have an impact on visual aesthetics.

I would like to explain a few ways by which you can improve your visual designs:

  1. Choose good color combinations

Color plays an important role in visual aesthetics. Colors are capable of creating emotions in users. All colors are good, but you need to know how to combine different colors to create an appealing design. The color combination you choose should match with the context and serve the intended purpose. Design trends keep changing. Always stick to the latest color pallets.

2. Give emphasis to elements through color contrast

Contrast enhances legibility, readability and helps to provide greater emphasis to certain elements in our design. Dark colors on light background and light elements on dark background do the trick. However, in some cases, some elements might lose their significance due to the over use of color contrast. It is always advised to keep a balance between high and low contrast.

3. Try different possibilities of typography

We could experiment a lot using typography in our designs. Never limit your designs to conventional ideas. Feel free to try out changes in text orientation and use different variations of the same font type such as light, semi bold, thin, etc. Some font types might look good in numbers, while some may not. So try those fonts for numbering. Make sure that the numbering font goes well with the existing font type of the content. Opacity can be reduced for titles and elements can be arranged in such a way that a visual balance is created. In most of the recent digital designs, punctuation and traditional typographic practices have given way to changing font size and following color hierarchy. We could experiment different aesthetics by changing text kerning, leading, and tracking. Let’s see the image below.

4. Implement hierarchy in font style, color, and size

Hierarchy is the difference in significance among elements. The most important elements should be visually more prominent than the less important ones. It is always a good practice to define hierarchies using different font types, colors, and sizes on the design (see the text hierarchy followed in the above image).

Another way of showing hierarchy is by scaling up or down visuals or elements to signify their importance as shown in the poster below.

Objects on the poster are not scaled corresponding to their original realistic size. A larger mixer grinder shows that it needs more attention than a smaller washing machine.

5. Keep consistency in designs

Consistent visuals allow users to understand the design faster. The consistency in appearance and functionality is very important for improved usability and learnability. Design establishes branding by maintaining consistency in font family, sizes, colors, button styles, icon styles, space, grid, positions, paddings, and margins.

6. Use relevant pattern, texture, images, and illustrations

Use patterns, textures and images wisely on your designs. Textured background helps elements on the page stand out. In some cases repetitive patterns can create a good impression among users ( let’s see the image below).

Patterns also help to fill free spaces and also help to balance elements on the design. You need to keep in mind that over use of patterns can also distract users. Photos taken from good angles and use of bright colors attract users. Do not use pixelated images. You may use filters and image adjustors to enhance the color and tone of photographs.

7. Organize content by their relatedness

Related content, images, elements and their actions should be arranged together. This forms a visual unity and user can easily scan through related content and actions. This visual unity adds more beauty and value to your design.

8. Reduce visual noise and fine tune all the elements

Be careful when you add a new element on a design. Every additional element has to be processed by the user. So attract their attention wisely. Making small adjustments in size, color, font weight, alignment, arrangement, and spaces helps to reduce visual noise.

The following points will help reduce visual noise:

• Use icons/images/illustrations for titles if needed.

• Provide enough white space in your designs.

• Remove unwanted division lines, images, and decorative elements/graphics.

• Follow hierarchy in typographical arrangement and play with font sizes and colors.

• Select images that are not crowded or have busy background.

  • Distribute visual elements evenly in different sections for related content.

9. Create balance by adding elements

A balanced design as a whole appears neat, clean, and well aligned. The user can scan the content effortlessly and understand the information very clearly. Arrange all elements in such a way that one does not overshadow the other. You may add supportive graphics/elements to some content to improve alignment. A clever distribution of elements make a design balanced and visually pleasing.

10. Provide more whitespace

Whitespace between paragraphs, text blocks and images really helps users understand what they are reading. Whitespace separates unrelated elements, images/graphics in a design and reduces distractions. Padding around objects will help gather attention to a specific area on designs. White space makes our designs more elegant and superior.

I hope these 10 points will be helpful for the beginners to improve aesthetics in design.




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Madhu Vijayan

Madhu Vijayan

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