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Movement in Design: Showing the Viewer Where to Look

We’re on the home stretch, only 2 more principles to go! If you missed the previous posts, you can click the hyperlinks for each one here: proximity, alignment, repetition, contrast, balance, and emphasis. Now, let’s zero in and define movement and learn how to use it in design. 

Principle of Design: Movement

Movement definition: Leading the eye throughout the design. A designer can use one or multiple elements to help with movement.

In the last post about emphasis, I suggested that you list information that was important to the design. Well, this would be a good practice for movement, too. Movement can help to order the rest of the information in the design. 

Marco
Design by Marco Romano

To help answer the question, “What is movement?” let’s look at some movement examples. This magazine spread has a number of things that it needs to communicate: the title, the subtitle, and the authorship credit.

In this example, the designer is using the position of the items and their size to move the viewer’s eye through the information on the page. The graphics are a nice complement to the information given. Line and space are used to help with movement as well.

Movement works with emphasis to help communicate the most important information at a glance. But if you feel like your eye is getting “stuck” on a less important element, go back and adjust until everything seems unified!

Wedding invite

For example, in the wedding invitation above, is obviously moving the eye down the page toward the words “Chance Chapel”, but is this the most important information? Doesn’t the eye naturally move down the page without highlighting the name of the Chapel?

Wedding invite

By removing the highlight and bold typeface on “Chance Chapel” it not only allows the eye to naturally flow down the page and consume the information, it also unifies the design. (More on that later!)


Here’s some quick tips for using movement in your own designs:

  1. Use the outline you made of all the information needed and create a hierarchy of information to present to the viewer
  2. Use movement to lead them through that information
  3. Avoid creating two different directions in one design

 

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