Design Principle #7 – Hierarchy

You guys, this is the last design principle post in the series! Does that make you as sad as it makes us?! 😭 Well we’re lucky this one is a good one, ending on a high note! Here we gooooo!


The definition of hierarchy is “a system or organization in which people or groups are ranked one above the other according to status or authority.” How fancy. 

Hierarchy, when implemented, literally creates a path for your eye to move around the page. Yes, you can in fact control how the viewer consumes your graphics. Viewers will start with the most dominant feature of your graphic, then move to the next dominant, and the next until they’ve looked over the entire thing.

Proximity also plays a huge role in hierarchy (remember our proximity post??) because often the path your eye follows will be to the next closest, dominant element.

Contrast also plays a large part in hierarchy (it’s allll coming together now), as the design element with the most contrast will typically stand out and become the starting point the hierarchy you’re implementing.

Hierarchy helps force readers to take in the most important information first and then learn details as they dive deeper into the graphic.




Using contrasting fonts for header and body text helps form this hierarchy, and organizes what information you want the viewer to consume first.

Design Elements

Often design elements like lines, arrows or shapes can help move you from one area of the graphic to the next. Keep this in mind when adding design elements. They’re not only there to look good – they should also be working to establish the hierarchy you’re trying to achieve within your design.


Use color to dictate where the viewer should look next. Use brighter, more dominant colors for the elements you want to be viewed first and then use the more neutral colors as their eyes move around the graphic.

And there you have it! These design principles definitely take a conscious effort to implement at first, but the more you familiarize yourself with them the easier they’ll be (AND the better your designs will look)! Implement these design techniques and you’ll be WAY ahead of the game and will immediately up level your visual aesthetic.



Once again, a HUGE thanks to Mariah Althoff for the tips and if you have any questions, feel free to find us on social media and reach out, we love to hear from you!