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

In graphic design, a visual hierarchy is a ranking of the visual weight of various elements used in a graphic. In other words, it’s a system for showing what’s the most important and the least important.

We know that in order to create a compelling and engaging design, the best content and the best background images in the world won’t be enough. After all, people use their eyes to read and look at pictures. But we also know that content and visuals are compatible in many creative ways.

The Internet is an amazing place where there is no shortage of information about what makes good design engaging – not just for one or another way of expressing oneself, but for any kind of project, even those requiring complex design skills. Our own creative process has been made easier with the help of software tools such as Adobe PhotoshopIllustrator etc.

This guide will cover the different types of visual hierarchies that are used in graphic design and how they can be used to create compelling designs that have a clear hierarchy. We will cover how to make your designs engaging by using different types of hierarchies, color, size, proximity, scale, and other factors.

What is Visual Hierarchy in Graphic Design?

Visual Hierarchy in Graphic Design is a system of arranging design elements in such a way that the most important information is more prominent than the less important information.

Visual hierarchy in graphic design is an area of design where typography, color, and other elements are used to create emphasis on the most important parts of the work. Visual hierarchy guides readers through a document or visual presentation by directing their attention to the most important ideas or parts of a composition.

In designing any element on a page, it’s helpful to ask yourself: “Where does this element belong? How should it be positioned? What typeface should I use?”

What are the Different Principles Behind a Good Visual Hierarchy?

A good visual hierarchy is one of the most important principles in graphic design. It helps to guide the viewer’s eye through a page, and it also conveys information in an organized manner.

Some of the design principles that are commonly used include symmetry, contrast, balance, proportion, proximity, size, shape and alignment to help draw attention to certain elements in their designs.

There are many ways to create engaging and compelling designs with visuals and typography, but the principles behind them are the same.

These principles are important when creating a layout that is easy-to-read with a clear communication of information.

Designers should use these principles when they are designing layouts that have large blocks of text in order to make the text easy-to-read for readers.

These elements in design can also be used in business cards, posters, brochures, flyers and social media graphics without sacrificing the quality of the design.

What are the Different Categories of Visual Hierarchy?

There are 6 different categories 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 Use Visual Hierarchy to Create an Engaging & Compelling Design?

While there are many ways to create engaging and compelling designs with visuals and typography, there are also some basic rules that can be followed that will help to get this result.

Visual hierarchy is all about organizing information in a way that leads the viewer’s eye and influences their experience. It is the most important tool in a designer’s toolkit. It helps guide the viewer’s eye across a page, where to look, and how much time to spend on each element.

The visual hierarchy is the way in which the most important parts of a design stand out against the less important. This rule is based on few principles: size, space, color, contrast, and typography. As we know, the human eye pays more attention to visuals with contrast and saturation. There are many ways to create compelling designs with visuals and typography; we will explore three of them below:

  1.  Use bright colors as your focal point: Colors such as bright reds, oranges, yellows, greens, and blues will attract people’s attention so use these colors as your focal point to grab people’s attention. For instance, if you want to catch someone’s eye on a webpage, then use a bright red color as your focal point.
  2. The use of large objects with good use of negative space can create a sense of grandeur and elegance. In the example below, the designer uses a variety of shapes and colors to fill the negative space. This creates a sense of lightness and movement in this design.
  3. One way to use visual hierarchy in your design is through typography. You can play around with font sizes, typeface families, letter spacing, word spacing, and letter shapes. 
  4. Another technique is through adding graphics or photos to break up blocks of text without losing too much attention from other parts of the design.

The Value of Observing Patterns

Did you know that everyone has a basic viewing pattern they employ to analyze composition? This pattern may alter from person to person and may vary significantly based on the sort of information being seen, but the Z pattern and the F pattern are undoubtedly the two most prominent viewing patterns.

Depending on the sort of material you’re developing, each viewing pattern serves a different function. Designing your content to follow these patterns will provide your readers with a far better experience. Now let us look closely at these two patterns.

The Z pattern

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

This approach works best with non-text or content-heavy material. If you design your content to follow this pattern, your readers will be able to rapidly look over each piece and get a feel of how important each aspect is to you.

The F pattern

On text-heavy pages like articles and blog posts, the F pattern for seeing is increasingly dominant. Viewers often scan webpages from top left to top right, then down to the following line from left to right, and so on. This is comparable to how the majority of the Western world reads.
 
It’s also important to bear in mind that, while creating your contents to flow through this pattern, while your visitors scan the whole width of the first few strips, they usually just scan the Left section of each row as they move quickly to locate anything they are aware of.

What are the different Types of Visual Hierarchy examples?

There are three different types of visual hierarchy. These are chronological, categorizing, and hierarchical.

1) Chronological hierarchy is the most common type of design that you see. This type of design is easily recognizable because it follows a timeline. For example, the timeline could be the steps leading up to a presentation or presentation slides themselves.

2) Categorizing hierarchy is when you divide your design into sections by category or content. This type of design may have an introduction section followed by sections on how to do something for example. 

3) Hierarchical hierarchy is when you have subsections that are connected in order from the most important to the least important information. For example, you may have a subsection on “critical safety concerns” followed by a subsection on “miscellaneous” safety concerns.

How to Use Visual Hierarchy in Design to Increase Your Sales?

Visual hierarchy is everything in design. It’s what gets you to make an impulse buy at the store, it’s what makes people pay more attention to your website, it’s what catches people’s eye on social media.

The key is to create a visual hierarchy that your audience will understand without needing too much of an explanation. Here are some design tricks that you can use:

  • Place the most important elements at the top of the list
  • Place smaller elements below the list.
  • Put the most important images on top and the less important ones at the bottom.
  • Use larger font size for keywords – it will draw people’s attention

How to Create Visual Balance with Contrasting Colors?

Contrasting colors is an art that defines the look and feel of your images. It’s not just about choosing two colors that are different from one another. There are many factors that come into play when determining the contrast level of your image. For example, the difference in luminance between two colors is another important factor in deciding how to create visual balance with contrasting colors.

How does Color Varying affect your Ability to Communicate A Message?

Color is a powerful tool that can be used to generate specific emotions or to express a message in a more expressive way.

When designing for something like a poster, it is important to use colors that are appropriate for the tone of voice you’re trying to convey. A good example would be using red and orange colors in order to create a sense of urgency or pushing people into an action. Using blue and green colors on the other hand, would create a sense of calmness and tranquility.

When designing logos, it is vital to make sure that the color palette matches what the company stands for. For example, Nike uses bright colors like orange and yellow because they represent energy and wellness. On the other hand, Apple uses blue because it represents intelligence and creativity.

The Bottom Line

Every designer knows the importance of the visual hierarchy and the challenge of defining it. It can be difficult to know which details should be featured and which details should be hidden.

There are many different ways that designers can create engaging visuals with typography—by using contrast, white space, scale, color 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 color theory.

Designers need to balance design principles. When these principles clash, it can cause a disconnect between your message and your audience. I hope you found this article interesting and educational. Have any questions? Let me know in the comments.