This is it! The LAST principle for this series. This is the one that will tie them all together with a neat little bow. 😉 (If you want to see the previous principles discussed, click these links: proximity, alignment, repetition, contrast, balance, emphasis, and movement.)

Principle of Design: Unity

Unity in graphic design can seem a little aloof and hard to explain, but the unity art definition doesn’t vary much from the unity design definition. The key to understanding the unity meaning as you read below is to keep an open mind. It is an abstract concept and it can take some time to really absorb it fully. 

Now without further delay, the unity definition: Making the elements and principles within the design work together. Visual elements ought to have a clear relationship with each other throughout the design.


So, what does it mean to have elements “work together” or “have a clear relationship with each other”? Maybe you can’t necessarily define it, but can you see that the homepage above is not unified? Sometimes our eyes can comprehend things that our brains can’t necessarily explain.

Check out the proximity. Is it clear and easy to understand what items in the green menu box go together?

How about the alignment? Is there a good solid alignment repeated throughout the webpage?

What do you think about the colors? Some good repetition of color always helps in design.

More questions could be asked. You could go through all of the elements and principles to assess how well each is being used…I’ll leave that for you, otherwise this could be a very long blog post!


Rest your eyes upon the redesign! (Can you feel your eyes heaving a sigh of relief?) 

The green menu box has been removed, thus improving the repetition of color. This has been further emphasized by the in the header and footer colors and the scalloped shape

The items are in much better proximity to one another, thus organizing the information better.

The alignment has also been simplified (making it all in line at the left) which moves the eye down the page.

Contrast of color and value is much higher in this design. This boost in contrast also helps emphasize the smooth texture of the delicious looking cupcake!

Did you notice how many elements and principles I used to show the improvements on the redesign (check out the bold words above)? Often, if the other principles are seen in the design, there’s a good chance the design also has unity!

Designs with good unity tend to appear more organized and seem of a higher quality than ones with poor unity. In the design above, the repetition of color, shape and line go a long way in unifying the design. Not only that, but looking at the design almost gives the viewer’s eye a feeling of peace, as if they’ve just fit the last piece into a difficult puzzle!

Here’s my final thoughts on applying unity in design: 

  1. Repetition is an easy way to show unity! Try repeating colors, lines, shapes, throughout the design.
  2. Use unity to help organize information.
  3. Avoid putting too much in the design (too many graphics, too many lines, too much texture, etc), it can make it look cluttered.

Ready for a 2 free activity sheets that goes along with this article? Click the button below and enter your email!

Leave a Reply