D+ve: Fundamentals of Good Design

In his column, Manoj Deb, Founder and Specialist in Branding Strategy and Design, Venacava, lists a few essential elements that comprise good design

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D+ve: Fundamentals of Good Design

Want to learn how to design? Then start with the basics!

The foundational elements of design include line, shape, colour, space, texture, scale, value, etc. These are the fundamental pieces that lay the base of your work. When you enroll in a design course, these will be the first things that will be taught for sure.

But if you’re not a student and just someone looking for ways to enhance their design skills, then this is the perfect guide for you.

Design skills are not just for designers. It can help everyone. Especially if you are dealing with designers and developing a brand of your own, having an eye for good design is essential. It can play a big role in how the visual language of the brand is built and how every piece of communication you release makes an impact.

Good design can have a direct impact on your business. It can help capture the attention of the right audience and influence their decision-making process, which in turn helps bring in revenue. So having a basic understanding of the fundamentals of design can help you collaborate better with designers and even share your vision with them by speaking their language.


Colours can have a big impact on the mood of any design. Red predominant designs usually represent strong emotions such as love, anger and passion, whereas blue can make the visual feel cool, calm and peaceful. Colours contribute to the unity of a series, help emphasise information and lead the eyes through a design.


Space gives the design some breathing room and the eye a place to rest. It is often called white space by designers and considered an integral element of any design. Bad use of space can make the design feel too cluttered. And too much white space can make the design seem incomplete. If you use space judiciously, it can help grab attention and induce an emotional response in the viewer.


What kind of lines are you using? Straight and slim? Thick and squiggly? The quality of the lines can also reflect the mood you are trying to set with your design. Thick hand-drawn lines are generally used to represent juvenile themes. But when it comes to corporate communication, straight thin lines work best.

How the lines interact with each other is equally important. If straight, thin lines collide at all sorts of crazy angles, it can look really chaotic. But hand-drawn lines that are more or less straight and orderly, can give a much-needed personal appeal to a design.


Shapes can convey a mood just like the other elements of design. Squares, triangles and other angular shaped tend to indicate masculinity. Smooth and curving shapes such as circles are more feminine. Squares seem secure, trustworthy and stable, since they are very familiar to us and we see them in our daily lives. Circles are organic, whole, peaceful and exude unity since they are pleasing to the eye.

Scale and Size

Scale and size can bring balance, proportion and contrast to designs. Size is the actual dimensions of an element on the page but scale is the element’s relation to its original form and proportion is the relation between the different elements on a page in terms of size and scale. Using scale and proportion can indicate the actual size of an object or emphasise the difference in the sizes of two different objects.


Texture is a fun element that can help bring some realism to your designs. You can use it effectively to add visual interest and that in turn can help make a design look unique. The best part is – you don’t even need to apply it in a computer all the time; if you take the final material on which the design is printed, that can work like a charm too!


Value is a neglected element that can bring a sense of semblance to any design. It also helps create a focal point and can guide the eye of the viewer through a layout. It can bring together parts of the design to make them balanced. Using similar elements in a high intensity value can create a subdued tone. Using values on either extreme of the spectrum has a very dramatic effect.

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of and we do not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.)

Fundamentals of Good Design D + ve Manoj Deb Venacava