10 beginning design principles for a user-led startup

Dhananjay Garg
The Startup
Published in
9 min readDec 18, 2022


Designing product principles for startups and small companies

Design principles are guidelines that designers follow to create aesthetically pleasing and functional designs. These principles can be applied to a wide range of design disciplines, including graphic design, interior design, architecture, and product design. Some common design principles include balance, contrast, hierarchy, unity, and simplicity.

Based on the type of product and user personas, design principles change too. So for example, design principles that appeal to a product like a Headspace won’t work well for Airbnb.

Usually, matured products are capable of distilling their product in 4 to 6 design principles that serve as a guideline for all designers and product managers. But that is not true for companies that are in their infancy stages. Startups struggle with setting up a design system, hiring a mature design team and leaders, and later distilling down the product and its domains into guidelines and principles. Based on my understanding of how design functions in a startup, design leaders should nevertheless set up a set of design principles that can guide fellow designers into creating a functional & intuitive product. In this post, I will be discussing 10 design principles that a product team can consider during its early stages.

  1. User-centered design
  2. Consistency
  3. Balance
  4. Hierarchy
  5. Unity
  6. Contrast
  7. Simplicity and minimalism
  8. Flexibility and adaptability
  9. Functionality and usefulness
  10. Innovation and creativity

User-centered design

This principle focuses on understanding the needs and goals of the users and designing products and experiences that are intuitive and easy to use. Creating a user-centered design is not hard, simply by following a checklist system we can create a design that is tailored to the needs and preferences of your users, resulting in a more user-friendly and effective product or service. Here are some steps for creating a user-centered design:



Dhananjay Garg
The Startup

Product Designer who narrates stories. Love designing products that are accessible & usable. Connect on https://www.linkedin.com/in/djgarg/