NHS Designs

an arrangement or position of things in a straight line or in parallel lines

Design Principles

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Page 9: Chart

When you place other items on the page, make sure each one has some visual alignment with another item on the page. If lines of text are across from each other horizontally, align their baselines. If there are several separate blocks of text, align their left or right edges. If there are graphic elements, align their edges with other edges on the page.

Nothing should be placed on the page arbitrarily!


There are two problems here, right? A Lack of proximity and a lack of alignment.

Even though it may be a boring ol' chart, there is no reason not to make the page look as nice as possible and to present the information as clearlly as possible. When information is difficult to understand, that's when it is the most critical to present it as clean and organized.


Lack of alignment is probably the biggest cause of unpleasant-looking documents. Our eyes like to see order; it creates a calm, secure feeling. Plus it helps to communicate the information.

In any well-designed piece, you will be able to draw lines to the aligned objects, even if the overall presentation of material is a wild collection of odd things and has lots of energy.


Simply lining up the elements makes all the difference here. Notice not one item is on the page arbitrarily - every item has some visual connection with another item on the page.

If I knew what this chart was talking about, I might choose to move the box on the right even farther to the right, away from the big chart, keeping their tops aligned. Or I might move the lower box farther away. I would adjust the spacing between the three charts according to their intellectual relationships to each other.





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Source: The Non-Designer's Design Book by Robin Williams

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