Visual Design

Your constantly-updated definition of Visual Design and collection of topical content and literature

What is Visual Design?

Visual design aims to shape and improve the user experience through considering the effects of illustrations, photography, typography, space, layouts, and color on the usability of products and on their aesthetic appeal. To help designers achieve this, visual design considers a variety of principles, including unity, Gestalt properties, space, hierarchy, balance, contrast, scale, dominance, and similarity.

Visual design as a field has grown out of both user interface (UI) design and graphic design. As such, it focuses on the aesthetics of a product and its related materials by strategically implementing images, colors, fonts, and other elements. A successful visual design ensures that content remains central to the page or function, and enhances it by engaging users and helping to build their trust and interest in the product (and, consequently, the brand). The realm of visual design houses a wealth of issues for designers to bear in mind, ranging from the differences in cultural interpretations of the color red, to proper use of whitespace, to universal taboos such as the setting of red elements against blue backgrounds. It draws on a rich and lengthy history of the production of aesthetically pleasing, successful work.

By considering how they can form or arrange visual elements to address the principles of good visual designs, designers can shape the user experience in order to elicit user responses and behaviors that suit the use and purpose of the product. Inconspicuous, small details of a product’s aesthetics can thus play a significant role in the design of the user experience.

Literature on Visual Design

Here’s the entire UX literature on Visual Design by the Interaction Design Foundation, collated in one place:

Learn more about Visual Design

Take a deep dive into Visual Design with our course The Ultimate Guide to Visual Perception and Design.

Human vision is an amazing ability; we are capable of interpreting our surroundings so as to interact safely and accurately with little conscious effort. However, we are well attuned to nature and things that occur naturally in our environment, which has significant implications for design. Unless man-made products are attuned to, and support, human visual perception, the viewing experience suffers and there is significant potential that users will be unable to use your products quickly, safely, or without error. For this reason, it is essential that we investigate how we see the world and why we see things in the way we do in order to know what we can do to ensure our products provide the best viewing experience possible. This is why we have developed “The Ultimate Guide to Visual Perception and Design,” and why it is such an important topic for designers to master.

For those of us who are blessed with good eyesight, we seldom consider it. That’s why going off to investigate the whys and hows involved is a little like trying to get behind the wind for the sake of finding the exact spot where it comes from. Happily, getting to the bottom of the phenomena involved in visual perception is a lot less laborious, and perhaps infinitely more fascinating. During the course, we will first cover the basic anatomy of the human eye so as to understand how vision is formed. We will then look at lots of different designs, evaluating each one according to specific aspects of the human visual experience. We will also identify how we can improve designs to support human vision better and improve usability as a direct result. Using the knowledge it imparts earlier on, this course will then analyze the design of icons in screen-based interfaces.

All Literature

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