Top 5 Design Principles Every South Dakota Small Business Owner Must Know in 2023

Whether it’s a DIY project or you choose to work with a creative agency, these five universal design principles will come in handy.

November 8, 2023
Top 5 Design Principles Every South Dakota Small Business Owner Must Know in 2023

Why are design principles important for South Dakota small business owners in 2023? Well, it’s simple, really. Most small business owners cannot afford to hire the top creative agencies, which consistently deliver stunning results.

This means that they must either employ the help of a less reliable agency, or create their own designs. If the former applies to you and your business, then understanding these principles will help you hold your agency accountable. On the other hand, if you are more inclined toward a DIY solution, the importance of understanding foundational design principles is self-explanatory.

In this blog, we will discuss five design principles that apply to all areas of design, from business cards and leaflets, all the way to websites, social media graphics, etc. These principles will help you establish a strong visual presence, engage your target audience, and enhance your brand's overall appeal.

Utilize White Space

White space, also known as negative space, refers to the empty or unmarked areas in a design. It is a crucial element that allows your content and visuals to breathe, providing a sense of balance and clarity.

By incorporating ample white space in your marketing materials, website layout, and advertisements, you can create a clean and organized look that attracts attention and improves readability. It helps to focus the viewer's attention on key elements, making your message more impactful and memorable.

Maintain Visual Hierarchy

Visual hierarchy is the arrangement and presentation of elements in a design to indicate their importance and guide the viewer's attention. By establishing a clear visual hierarchy, you can effectively communicate your message and guide your audience through the content. Use size, color, contrast, and placement to differentiate between primary, secondary, and tertiary elements.

For example, important information such as your business name or key offerings should be larger and more prominent, while supporting details can be smaller and less visually dominant. This principle ensures that viewers can quickly understand the significance and flow of information within your design.

Choose a Consistent Color Palette

Color is a powerful tool in design that can evoke emotions, convey brand personality, and improve recognition. It is essential to select a consistent color palette that aligns with your brand and resonates with your target audience. Identify a primary color and complementary colors that work well together and represent your business effectively. Adobe Color is a great tool for this task. It’s completely free, and super easy to use.

Use these colors consistently across all your marketing materials, website, and physical spaces to create a cohesive and recognizable brand identity. Consistency in color palette strengthens brand recognition and fosters a sense of professionalism.

Prioritize Readability

Readability is crucial for effective communication, whether it's on your website, signage, or printed materials. Select legible fonts and ensure that the size and spacing are appropriate for easy reading. Consider the context in which your designs will be viewed, such as digital screens or print materials, and adjust the font size accordingly.

Additionally, use appropriate color contrast to enhance readability, ensuring that text stands out clearly against the background. Prioritizing readability ensures that your audience can consume your message effortlessly, leading to improved engagement and understanding.

Implement the Principle of Contrast

The principle of contrast is a fundamental design principle that helps create visual interest and hierarchy within a design. Contrast involves using elements that are noticeably different from one another to draw attention, create emphasis, and establish a clear visual hierarchy.

There are several ways to incorporate contrast into your design:

  • Color Contrast: Use colors that are opposite on the color wheel to create a strong visual contrast. For example, pairing dark colors with light colors or using complementary colors can create an eye-catching effect.
  • Size Contrast: Vary the sizes of elements to create contrast. Larger elements will naturally draw more attention compared to smaller ones. Use size contrast strategically to highlight important information or create a focal point within your design.
  • Typography Contrast: Experiment with different font styles, weights, and sizes to create contrast between headings, subheadings, and body text. This helps guide the reader's eye and adds visual interest to your design.
  • Texture Contrast: Incorporate varied textures or patterns within your design to create contrast. The juxtaposition of smooth and rough textures or intricate and simple patterns can add depth and visual appeal to your overall composition.
  • Shape Contrast: Utilize different shapes and forms to create contrast. Combining geometric shapes with organic shapes or using irregular shapes alongside symmetrical ones can create a dynamic visual impact.

Remember to use contrast purposefully and strategically to maintain visual harmony and ensure that your design remains cohesive.


By implementing these five design principles—utilizing white space, maintaining visual hierarchy, choosing a consistent color palette, prioritizing readability, and implementing contrast—South Dakota small business owners can create visually appealing designs that effectively communicate their message and attract customers. Remember, these principles are not rigid rules but guidelines to help you create designs that resonate with your target audience and elevate your brand's visual appeal.