Visual Hierarchy-The art of choosing what to show & hide

Visual Hierarchy: The Key to Creating Eye-Catching Designs

  • Post category:GRAPHIC DESIGN
  • Post published:August 18, 2023
  • Reading time:16 mins read

In graphic design, a visual hierarchy is a ranking of the visual weight of different components utilised in a graphic. In other words, it’s a mechanism for displaying what’s the most significant and the least essential.

We realise that in order to build a fascinating and engaging design, the finest content and the best backdrop photos in the world won’t be enough. After all, individuals use their eyes to read and look at photos. Yet we also know that information and graphics are compatible in many innovative ways.

The Internet is an incredible place where there is no lack of knowledge regarding what makes excellent design appealing – not only for one or another method of expressing oneself, but for any sort of project, including those requiring complicated design abilities. Our own creative process has been made simpler with the use of software tools such as Adobe PhotoshopIllustrator etc.

This article will explore the many sorts of visual hierarchies that are used in graphic design and how they may be utilised to produce engaging designs that have a clear hierarchy. We will explore how to make your designs interesting by utilising various sorts of hierarchies, colour, size, closeness, scale, and other elements.

What is Visual Hierarchy in Graphic Design?

Visual Hierarchy in Graphic Design is a strategy of organising design components in such a manner that the most essential information is more apparent than the less significant information.

Visual hierarchy in graphic design is an area of design where font, colour, and other aspects are employed to focus attention on the most significant portions of the work. Visual hierarchy leads readers through a text or visual presentation by directing their attention to the most significant concepts or aspects of a composition.

While creating any piece on a page, it’s useful to ask yourself: “Where does this element belong? How should it be positioned? What font should I use?”

What are the Different Principles Behind a Good Visual Hierarchy?

A good visual hierarchy is one of the most fundamental aspects in graphic design. It helps to move the viewer’s attention over a page, and it also presents information in an ordered way.

Some of the design principles that are widely employed include symmetry, contrast, balance, proportion, proximity, size, form and alignment to assist bring attention to particular parts in their designs.

There are various methods to build interesting and captivating designs using graphics and typography, but the fundamentals underlying them remain the same.

These concepts are vital for building a layout that is easy-to-read with a clear delivery of information.

Designers should follow these concepts when they are developing layouts that feature huge blocks of text in order to make the text easy-to-read for readers.

These aspects in design may also be employed in business cards, posters, brochures, flyers and social media graphics without affecting the quality of the design.

What are the Various Types of Visual Hierarchy?

There are 6 major types of visual hierarchy design.

The six categories are:

  • Weight or Size
  • Color
  • Shape
  • Layout
  • Proximity
  • Structure or 
  • Typography
You, Me And Graphic Design: The Truth

How to Utilize Visual Hierarchy to Build an Engaging & Compelling Design?

Although there are numerous methods to build interesting and captivating designs using graphics and typography, there are also certain fundamental guidelines that may be followed that will assist to reach this outcome.

Visual hierarchy is all about structuring information in a manner that guides the viewer’s eye and shapes their experience. It is the most significant tool in a designer’s toolbox. It helps lead the viewer’s attention throughout a website, where to look, and how much time to spend on each element.

The visual hierarchy is the method in which the most significant components of a design stand out against the less important. This guideline is built on several principles: size, space, colour, contrast, and typography. As we know, the human eye pays greater attention to imagery with contrast and saturation. There are various approaches to build captivating designs using graphics and typography; we will cover three of them below:

  1. Employ bright colours as your main point: Colors such as bright reds, oranges, yellows, greens, and blues will catch people’s attention therefore utilise these colours as your focal point to capture people’s attention. For instance, if you want to capture someone’s notice on a website, then choose a bright red hue as your main point.
  2. The usage of huge items with effective use of negative space may generate a feeling of grandeur and beauty. In the image below, the designer employs a range of shapes and colours to fill the negative space. This provides a sensation of lightness and fluidity in this design.
  3. One approach to leverage visual hierarchy in your design is via typography. You may experiment with with font sizes, typeface families, letter spacing, word spacing, and letter forms.
  4. Another way is by using visuals or photographs to break up blocks of text without losing too much focus from other elements of the design.

The Importance of Seeing Patterns

Did you realise that everyone has a fundamental seeing pattern they adopt to assess composition? This pattern may differ from person to person and may vary greatly dependent on the kind of information being viewed, but the Z pattern and the F pattern are clearly the two most frequent seeing patterns.

Based on the type of content you’re generating, each viewing pattern performs a distinct role. Creating your content to match these patterns will give your viewers with a significantly better experience. Now let us look attentively at these two designs.

The F pattern

On text-heavy sites like articles and blog posts, the F pattern for seeing is more dominating. Visitors generally scan websites from top left to top right, then down to the next line from left to right, and so on. This is analogous to how the bulk of the Western world reads.
It’s also crucial to keep in mind that, when constructing your contents to flow through this pattern, although your visitors scan the complete width of the first few strips, they normally simply scan the Left part of each row as they move fast to identify anything they are aware of.

The Z pattern

From top-left to top-right, the Z pattern moves down to the lower left, then across to the bottom right.

This strategy works well with non-text or content-heavy stuff. If you build your material to follow this pattern, your readers will be able to fast skim over each item and get a sense of how essential each area is to you.

visual hierarchy

F or Z Pattern Design Layout Examples

visual hierarchy
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visual hierarchy

What are the different Types of Visual Hierarchy examples?

There are three basic forms of visual hierarchy. These are chronological, classifying, and hierarchical.

1) Chronological hierarchy is the most typical style of design that you see. This sort of design is instantly identifiable since it follows a chronology. For example, the timeline might include the processes leading up to a presentation or presentation slides itself.

2) Categorizing hierarchy is when you split your design into parts by category or content. This style of design may contain an introductory part followed by sections on how to accomplish something for example.

3) Hierarchical hierarchy is when you have subsections that are related in sequence from the most significant to the least important information. For example, you may have a subchapter on “critical safety problems” followed by a paragraph on “miscellaneous” safety concerns.

How to Utilize Visual Hierarchy in Design to Boost Your Sales?

Visual hierarchy is everything in design. It’s what leads you to make an impulsive purchase at the shop, it’s what makes people pay more attention to your website, it’s what captures people’s eye on social media.

The objective is to build a visual hierarchy that your audience will comprehend without requiring too much of an explanation. Here are some design techniques that you may use:

  • Put the most crucial things at the top of the list
  • Put smaller pieces below the list.
  • Place the most significant photographs on top and the less important ones at the bottom.
  • Employ bigger font size for keywords – it will catch people’s attention

How to Create Visual Balance with Contrasting Colors?

Contrasting colours is an art that shapes the appearance and feel of your photos. It’s not only about picking two hues that are distinct from one another. There are various aspects that come into play when selecting the contrast level of your picture. For example, the difference in brightness between two colours is another significant consideration in selecting how to establish visual balance with opposing hues.

How can Color Variety influence your Capacity to Convey A Message?

Color is a strong instrument that may be utilised to elicit various emotions or to portray a message in a more expressive manner.

When designing for something like a poster, it is vital to utilise colours that are suitable for the tone of voice you’re attempting to express. A excellent example would be utilising red and orange hues in order to generate a feeling of urgency or pushing people towards an action. Employing blue and green hues on the other hand, would give a feeling of peace and tranquillity.

While developing logos, it is crucial to make sure that the colour palette complements what the brand stands for. For example, Nike employs bright colours like orange and yellow because they reflect vitality and health. On the other hand, Apple utilises blue because it denotes brains and innovation.

The Bottom Line

Every designer recognises the significance of the visual hierarchy and the problem of establishing it. It might be tough to discern which features should be highlighted and which aspects should be suppressed.

There are many different ways that designers can create engaging visuals with typography—by using contrast, white space, scale, colour palette, or any number of other design elements—but these elements will work best if they are combined with good graphic design principles like typography, composition and colour theory.

Designers need to balance design concepts. When these concepts collide, it may generate a mismatch between your message and your audience. I hope you found this essay entertaining and instructive. Have any questions? Let me know in the comments.


What are some recommendations for developing an effective visual hierarchy in my design?

Some strategies for developing an effective visual hierarchy include employing contrast to make crucial pieces stand out, having a clear focal point, using consistent font styles and sizes, and harmonising the elements in the design.

How can I utilise visual hierarchy to enhance my design?

You may employ visual hierarchy by providing a clear hierarchy of information utilising strategies such as size, colour, contrast, and location. This serves to move the viewer’s eye across the design and make the content more readily comprehensible.

What is visual hierarchy in graphic design?

Visual hierarchy is the organisation and prioritising of visual components in a design to lead the viewer’s attention and provide a clear and structured message.

What should I reveal or conceal to achieve an effective visual hierarchy in my design?

To develop an effective visual hierarchy, it’s vital to highlight the most important information first and utilise contrast and placement to move the viewer’s attention across the design. It’s also crucial to minimise clutter and extraneous items that may distract from the content.

Can you provide some examples of visual hierarchy in design?

Examples of visual hierarchy in design include the use of big headlines to call attention to vital information, the use of contrasting colours to make critical pieces stand out, and the use of white space to create a clear and orderly layout.

How does visual hierarchy effect the user experience?

Visual hierarchy may have a big influence on the user experience by producing a clear and ordered message that is simple to interpret. By directing the viewer’s attention across the design, visual hierarchy may also aid to boost usability and engagement.

How can content providers employ visual hierarchy in their work?

Content producers may utilise visual hierarchy to make their material more interesting and accessible by employing strategies such as headings, subheadings, and bullet points to establish a clear hierarchy of information.

How can I use the concepts of visual hierarchy to my website design?

To apply the concepts of visual hierarchy to your website design, you may utilise strategies like as contrast, font size and style, positioning, and spacing to create a clear and structured layout that directs the viewer’s eye across the design.

What are some frequent pitfalls to avoid when developing a visual hierarchy in design?

Typical pitfalls to avoid when constructing a visual hierarchy in design include utilising too many competing components, failing to create a clear focus point, and not leveraging contrast effectively to make key information stand out.

What are some design tips for creating effective visual hierarchy on websites?

Some design strategies for creating effective visual hierarchy on websites include maintaining a clear hierarchy of information, utilising consistent and suitable font, using contrasting colours to emphasise crucial sections, and employing white space to give the design breathing room. Moreover, testing and iterating on the design may assist guarantee that it is successful in moving people around the website.