Using the rule of thirds in graphic design

Using the rule of thirds in graphic design

There are a lot of rules in graphic design, such as typography, balance, composition and negative space to name a just a few. In this blog I wanted to talk about using the rule of thirds in graphic design.

Put simply, the rule of thirds means dividing your page or document into three equal sections both vertically and horizontally thereby creating a 3 by 3 grid. This grid won’t necessarily be 9 equal squares unless you’ve created a document that is a perfect square. More than likely you will have equally sized rectangles.

Use the grid as your guide

Once you have constructed this grid you are able to create a balance throughout your design. If we were referring to photography, the rule of thirds would be used to balance the picture while still creating an interesting focal point for the eye. It can also be used to make a traditional looking image stand out and draw the viewer’s eye in a specific direction. We also apply this idea to graphic design.

Graphic designers become familiar with the importance that balance and composition play, so you should aim to create a balanced design but it doesn’t have to always be symmetrical, as we tend to notice things that are asymmetrical. This can then be used to your advantage as a graphic designer.

If you want to create visually interesting designs that are well balanced with good composition then the rule of thirds will help you achieve this. Things like moving the key elements left or right of the grid will give you a balanced asymmetrical design but remember use the grid as a guide only, you don’t have to align every element all the way to one side or the other, you are better off aligning the main elements towards the left or right of the grid.

Select your focal point

Once you understand the basics of the rule of thirds, you can then start to use it. First choose your focal point for the design. The focal point is the main point of your design, the part that you want the viewer or reader to really pay attention to. Once you have your focal point, you can then use supporting elements of the design such as actual lines or visual lines to draw the attention to your focal point. A great way to do this is to align the text in your design to lead the reader’s gaze in the direction of the focal point.

I hope this will help you create more interesting and well balanced layouts, if you need any help feel free to contact me.