Design Basics

Balance: Refers to arrangement of the various elements within your layout. 

Formal Balance: All elements are centered within the layout. This creates a restrained, conservative look. Its a good choice for designs that must imply dignity, strength and dependability. Formal balance limits how you can position elements. It should not limit your imagination in how you arrange text, art, and white space on the page.

Informal Balance: Offers a great range of positioning, things don’t have to be perfectly centered. You can use elements of different sizes, shapes and contrast. Also you can vary their positions relative to the center of the layout. It creates a more casual, relaxed feel in your design.

Proportion: It can be considered in two ways, relative to the shape of the page or to the size of elements inside a layout. 

When considering the size relationship of elements within a layout, try not to have everything the same size. By using unequal divisions of space within a layout of the elements of different sizes, you attract attention and create reader interest.

Dominance: All forms of good graphic communications place emphasis on some portion of the message. 

Its the designer’s responsibility to help the reader know what’s most important on the page and steer them toward it. It captures reader’s attention and adds interest to the page. Dominance can also be created through the use of color. The dominant element should cover at least two-thirds of the layout. We have to keep in mind that in addition to capturing attention, the dominant element must also direct the reader into the copy.

Opposition: By using contrasting directions for elements within the layout, you create excitement and motion. 

Create it by pitting a series of horizontals against a series of verticals. Tilted object with a sense of movement can be very effective in attracting attention when set against static horizontal or vertical elements.
It can also be created by playing black against white and simply by setting a large, involved image against a relatively open area.

Unity : Its one of the most underused principles of design in desktop publishing.  For a layout to have a cohesive look, elements on a page should related to each other, else the design falls apart. 

Its achieved in following ways, either used individually or in combination.
Group related elements together, keeping a minimum or at least equal amounts of white space between related elements. Then, between that group and the next, white space is increased.
Overlap one element with another.
Rules and borers can be used to unify an entire layout. They also can unity individual groups of related elements.
White space can be used as framing device to focus attention. Group the related elements closely together then leave a noticeable amount of white space around the elements.