Principles of Design

There are many principles of designing a visual representation of data. However, before we understand how data is represented visually, it would benefit us a lot if we understand the basic principles of designing on 2D surface.

Robin’s CRAP

Robin Williams proposed the four elements of design:

  • Contrast
  • Repetition
  • Alignment
  • Proximity


Use some contrast to distinguish the elements of different contents.


Repeat the design of similar elements on the same page and across pages to make sure the readers learn the meaning of the design quickly.


Find a strong line and stick to it.

– Robin Williams

Some suggestions from Robin Williams:

  • Use less centered designs.
  • Alignment inside blocks and alignment of blocks can be different.


The spatial relations of the contents also indicate the relations of the contents.

Planted: by ;

L Ma (2020). 'Principles of Design', Datumorphism, 11 April. Available at: