7 Web Design Principles Every Designer Should Know

Web design principles are probably one of the most important components of your marketing strategy. Contemporary consumers are smart and research-oriented. They look around before making a decision.
Mature businessman with laptop outside a cafe.

In order for your company to be taken seriously, your website needs to look great. A beautiful website gives your company authority. It makes you look professional, and gives an impression that you will be great to work with.

A well-designed website also makes sure that the information on your website is easy to find. A customer can’t hire you if they can’t figure out how to. Frustrated customers will go to other companies.

Here are seven web design principles to get you started on the way to wonderful business websites.

Web design software
Web designer drafting web templates and web page layouts using a professional software, collage and paper cut composition


Consistency is one of the best ways to make your website easy to use and navigate. When you go to a website, once you figure out how to use it, you expect it to be the same on every page. If the navigation isn’t the same on every page, you get lost and have to re-learn how to use the website over and over.

This is frustrating for the website visitor. People browsing the web have very little patience. Consistency helps them find information and trust your company.

Consistency is not just for the customer – it also helps you.

Consistency is not just for the customer – it also helps you. If your web design is consistent, then you can create templates. These templates will make it super easy to add webpages. You won’t have to redesign for every page of your website.

Consistency just makes sense and saves time – for both you and your user.


An intuitive website design is in line with consistency. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel and challenge the conventions of the web-design world. You just need your customer to understand how to use your website.

If you use menu designs and symbols that are intuitive to all web users, you’re making it easier to navigate your website and attract business.

Peopl with lightbulb icon


Your website could have the coolest, most mind-boggling animated features in the world. But if it isn’t helping your web visitor find and buy your product, it’s useless.

Focus your space and bandwidth on features that are useful to the audience of your website.

Use Hick’s Law

Hick’s Law was developed in 1952 in a study that realized the more stimuli there was, the longer it would take for a person to make a decision.

If we want to make a user’s web navigation quicker and easier, Hick’s Law can also be one of your web design principles.

For example, you could be sure to narrow down menu choices to only the most important areas. You can also make sure to keep the general design relatively simple.

Hand writing circuit pattern guide line paper

If it’s impossible to avoid complex menus, you can at least simplify the menu and guide the user by breaking the menu down into categories.

Use Negative Space

The use of negative space is related to Hick’s Law. Negative space keeps the web design simple and directs users to important areas. Negative space is also just plain easier to look at.

It can be a good choice for those wanting a bold design, like this photographer’s website we designed.

The more stimuli there was, the longer it would take for a person to make a decision

If you’re not a design extraordinaire, using simple graphics and plenty of negative space is the easiest way to keep your website looking slick and professional without a ton of effort.

Negative space helps direct the flow of a page and allows users to easily understand the purpose of any given page. It also allows certain elements to stand out.

This allows you to direct the focus of the user to certain items, like a particular product, or a sale, or the “contact me” button.

Look to Art Student Principles

Break out the textbook from that one drawing class you took in college. Principles they teach to art students can be used as web design principles.

The Color Wheel

For example, consider the color wheel. The color wheel is an easy way to pick out aesthetically pleasing color schemes that won’t hurt the eyes of your users.

Casual businesswoman holding a color wheel in her office

There are several rules for harmonious color combinations using the color wheel:

  • Use two colors on opposite sides of the color wheel
  • Use three colors even spaced, forming a triangle
  • Use four colors forming a rectangle

The Rule of Thirds

The rule of thirds is not related to the old adage that bad things happen in threes. Instead, it’s referring to the way a page is laid out.

The easiest way to make your page look nicely laid out is to imagine the page with three evenly spaced lines both vertically and horizontally placed. Then place your elements according to those lines.

This avoids the elements looking randomly scattered or poorly placed. The rule of thirds also allows the eye to move naturally over the page.

Remember Mobile

Don’t forget the number of users who will be finding your website on their phones or tablets. In fact, many users don’t have or barely touch their desktop.

Your website should look just as good on the mobile website as it does on the desktop. There are side benefits to this as well. Research shows that responsive web design benefits SEO.

So when designing for mobile, don’t let it be an afterthought. Don’t let it frustrate you. Designing for mobile should be built in as a major part of your web and marketing strategy.

African man using mobile phone

These are Just the Beginning of Web Design Principles

Designing for the web is hard! There are a million things to look out for. Designing for mobile, breaking out the old art student tips, and using consistent and practical design is just the beginning.

A professional website can do more than just inform users of your existence. A really well-designed website will boost visits and increase the number of customers who contact you. In short, a great website will really put your business on the map.

We know designing a website can be overwhelming. But Oda Creative can help you take your marketing to the next level by showing you how to engage customers through design. Contact us to learn more about how great design can better sell your product.

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Incorporated in Houston in 2011, Oda Creative is a creative design studio that specializes in creating innovative designs that help brands, brides and creatives everywhere stand out.

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