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7 Design Principles To Boost Your Social Media Marketing

September 20, 2021

Here is a list of 7 design principles to utilise for creating the best social media posts.  We will outline 7 design principles and some tips of how to use them optimally on social media. You should tailor how you express your message on each platform to yield the best results.  On some social media platforms you should post mostly photos with only some text and or elements. Other platforms are great for video but static images don’t work the best there.

On all social media platforms it requires some sort of creative element, and that ‘creative’ is  key to the success of your message. Utilising design principles is a way in which you can bring some objectivity and science to what’s normally considered a very creative field where images tend to be subjective. Using design principles can make or break a post for your social media marketing and either add or take away from your core message depending on how you use them.

Design Principles

1. Colour

Colour is one of the most fundamental design principles and something that can change the whole look and feel of a piece of creative. When you are designing for social media you will want to use your brand colours that you have defined.

Top tip for designing social media marketing posts with colour: add complimentary colours of your logo to your design. You can use adobes colour wheel tool here!

Colour wheel on grey background. This is to emphasise the design principle of colour.

2. Typography

Typography is an essential part of most pieces of creative for social media marketing. Whether you are using text in your instagram stories, as a title on a video or in a quote on a Facebook image typography is everywhere. We are constrained by the platforms that we use and the typefaces that they offer but there are two distinct styles, one if serif and the other in sans serif (or without serif.) Serif typefaces have small ‘feet’ and ‘hands’ on the end of their glyphs. Serif typefaces can be seen as more classic and traditional. Sans serif typefaces are those without any extra embellishment. They are seen to be more modern and contemporary.

Top tip for designing social media marketing posts with typography: make it easy to read! Only pair up to 2 fonts together and give text lots of breathing room to make your message stand out! 

White capitol letter G in both a serif and sans serif with a grey background. This is to emphasise the design principle typography.

3. Hierarchy

Hierarchy is the way in which people read your social media post, what they read first, second, third and so forth. Hierarchy is really important when you are working with a small amount of real estate like a square Instagram post at 1080 x 1080. 

Top tip for designing social media marketing posts using hierarchy: Place your most important element first and make it the biggest element. Place your other elements around or near the main element to designate proper hierarchy to the design. 

Heading, sub heading and date & time in white text on grey background. Heading is in a large font, subheading slightly smaller and date and time even smaller. This is to emphasise the design principle of hierarchy.

4. Balance

Balance is essential when creating posts for social media marketing. This is the visual distribution of elements within a design. Balanced pieces of creative are aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Symmetry and balance are a good starting off place for a design, whilst you still may want to break the rule to emphasise one object, it is good to start with balance. 

Top tip for designing social media marketing posts with balance: Place your designs symmetrically on your social media post to create balance. Use the same shape, size and colour to create visual harmony.

There is a white cross in the middle of a grey background with two capitol letter G's on opposing quadrants to emphasise the design principle of balance.

5. White space

According to the design principles, white space refers to the area between design elements. Whitespace creates harmony, clarity, balance and emphasises importance to certain elements if they have a lot of white space around them. A lot of whitespace between design elements can make a design look simple, clean and modern.

Top tip for designing social media marketing posts with white space: Make sure not to crowd your design – less is more when it comes to social media marketing posts. White space creates breathing room for the design to catch someones eye while they are scrolling. 

There is a white Gray's Communications logos on a grey background to emphasise the design principle white space.

6. Proportion

Proportion is in reference to two elements and how they react to each other. They don’t have to be aligned as the same size, but there must be a sense of aesthetically pleasing balance between them. For instance instead of having one large round circle and one very very small round circle – you could have a large circle then two smaller round circles proportionate to the large round circle.

Top tip for designing social media marketing with the design principle, proportion: place a quote of text centrally in your design. Then take two quotation marks and make them three times the size of the text to make a statement with proportion. 

The quote 'innovation is a team sport' is white on a grey background with large quotation marks around it to emphasise the design principle of proportion.

7. Repetition

Repetition is the design principleof using elements of the same or similar visual look and feel throughout a design, to create a sense of unity and consistency. You would do this by placing the elements in a uniform pattern with equal spacing.

Top tip for designing social media marketing with the design principle repetition: place an element that represents a message that you want to express. Perhaps it is Movember and you are participating in growing a moustache to raise money for charity. You could place three moustaches across your social post to make a statement.  

There are three Gray's Communications logos on a grey background to emphases the design principle of repetition.

If you’re struggling with your social media content and creative direction for your marketing, we would love to help! Our friendly and experienced team is confident in delivering the optimum solution to reach your goals. Get in touch with us today to find out how. 

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