The Principles of Design Zen – Part 1: Balance

If you’re a seasoned graphic artist, you’re sure to have a strong understanding of the principles of design. You live and breathe these principles, as they are most essential concepts used in almost everything you create.

But they can also apply outside of design and can be used as the fundamental building blocks for our daily lives, and strengthening our own creativity.


principles of design balance illustration

Finding Balance
Finding a balance between your work and personal life can be a difficult task. Even so, bringing new activities into your daily routine is important, and not just for the sheer pleasure of it. It also helps us to refocus and take in the world from new perspectives. Because much of design today is limited to sitting in front of a computer screen for several hours a day, our work environment has become very constricted and can be draining. Enjoying your time away from work is an extremely important part of cultivating your creativity. Remember you are not your work, your work is you. Your artistry is an extension of how you experience the world around you.


1.) Take Breaks
If you’ve spent hours working and everything is becoming a blur, or you’re just stuck, it might be a good time to step back from the work. The mental effort it takes to see all of your design projects through can be taxing and it’s beneficial to take a break in these instances. So go on a jog, read, or move yourself to a totally new environment where you can escape thoughts of those lingering deadlines. It will help relieve stress and increase your productivity in the long run. You may even stumble upon new solutions along the way. Those eureka moments aren’t typically found while fully engrossed in your work.


2.) Finding balance between your own creative endeavors and your client’s needs
Don’t forget to indulge in your other favorite art forms whether it’s photography, drawing, painting or personal design work. If you feel pressed for time, you don’t always have to start from scratch. You likely have a wealth of unused resources and design concepts that were never presented or just didn’t make the final cut, for whatever reason. Go back through your forgotten sketches and lists, and you might be surprised at what you find. Even some random doodles made during early phases of a previous design might become the source of a great breakthrough.


3.) Explore your other passions
Finding other hobbies and activities to immerse yourself in with relative frequency is probably one of the best ways to fuel creativity. Something different, like juggling, making music, or learning martial arts. You probably have a fair amount of passion for your work, whether for your clients or for yourself, but it can still become routine over time. Finding unrelated activities will help to break up the monotony and expand your knowledge and creativity.


4.) Find a time to relax
Occasionally you just need to take the time to do nothing. Or at least almost nothing. Find your favorite spot in nature where you can kick back and bask in the environment. Clear your mind of the clutter. It can be a refreshing escape, and a great way to wind down after a long day. When work rolls around again you’ll be more engaged and your creative ideas will flow with greater clarity.



It may take some time to bring these habits into your life. Even if you feel like you only have 10 minutes of free time a day, make use of that time and increase it little by little. Take incremental steps and make daily adjustments as you progress. You’ll soon find a rhythm that works for you and you’ll be happier and more creative as a result.

Categories: Design Graphic Design