Find Your Focus: 10 Tips & Tricks for Mastering Composition (Part 2)

It’s time for Part 2 of compositional tips and tricks – something I’m sure you’ve all been anxiously awaiting. ICYMI, last week we posted an article outlining five basic design tools that will assist you in creating effective images and stunningly cohesive designs.

As discussed in Part 1, composition impacts how consumers interpret your brand and your mission as an organization. Here, we expand on that list, sharing five additional tips you can implement in your designs.

6.      Finding your Balance

Hey, we get it – balancing your personal and professional life can seem next to impossible. Craving order and stability is human nature, and we all but expect it in graphic design. This is largely because balance helps people know where to look, and it’s integral to getting into your design groove.

The two most common forms of balance are symmetrical and asymmetrical balance. Symmetrical designs find balance using proportional harmony. We are attracted to symmetrical stability and simple horizontal/vertical reflections because they lead to basic, clean, and composed visuals.

Asymmetry can be a little more difficult to master as it seeks to find balance without any symmetry. The easiest way to begin thinking about asymmetrical balance is to allow each element within the composition to hold weight. You definitely don’t want your design to come off as too “heavy.”

Let’s think about it like this: if you have two circles right next to each other, and the one on the left is large and dark grey and the one on the right is a smaller pastel pink, then the balance is off because the left is too heavy. Finding your footing here can certainly be a balancing act but it is critical to finding a sense of stability within your design.


7.      Repetition, Repetition, Repetition

Repeat after me: consistency doesn’t mean boring! In fact, remaining consistent is crucial to creating a logical and attractive graphic. Whether you choose to repeat font/typography, a graphic motif, or a color theme within an ad, creating a cohesive design with consistent design elements makes for a successful overall design.

repetition in design

8.      Embrace the ‘White Space’

Just because it’s empty doesn’t mean you need to fill it! Make-up 101 dictates that a smoky eye, means avoid a bold of a lip. Using this critical eye when looking at your design is essential. Stop and ask yourself, “is this necessary?” In removing unnecessary pieces, you create a more direct and compelling design.

embrace white space

9.      Scale it Down

Scale – and no we’re not talking about that pesky thing on your bathroom floor – is one of the simplest ways to enhance your design. Scale allows for balance, contrast, and hierarchy to come together. If some elements are more important than others, make them bigger!

Think of the front page of a newspaper. You’ll notice that the title of the news organization is at the top, usually in fairly large print, but you’ll also notice that the cost of the paper and the date are smaller. Why? They hold less importance.

What takes up the most space on that front page? The leading story, complete with a large featured image, a headline, and a smaller sub-headline.

So what’s the bottom line? Size matters. Take a step back a figure out what matters the most (and what matters a little bit less) and balance will come naturally.

10.    It’s all about Type

Congrats – you made it to the final tip! Now before we send you off, equipped to take the world of composition by storm, first heed our advice about typography.

We’ve touched on this tip before, but we’re doing it again, because this simply cannot be stressed enough.

Why? It’s not only what you write, but how you present what you write. This is largely because typeface and the way it looks with the rest of your layout has the power to impact the tone of your message.

But don’t stress! Unless your design and theme is bold and requires a whimsical type to match, it’s best to stick with one of the classics like Helvetica, Futura, or Bodoni. There’s a reason they’re classics!



There you have it – 10 tips for mastering composition. Now that you know the secrets to creating an expertly cohesive design, we challenge you to use at least two of the new tricks you’ve just learned in your next image. Which two will you choose?

Until then, reach out to Marketing Doctor. As advertising experts with a flair for design we’re fully equipped to help your company with all your marketing needs!


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