Design thinking
Design thinking

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Design thinking

3.1.7 Combining the principles of composition

Unity describes the wholeness of a design composition. Successful design displays a sense that the designer or design team has given due consideration to the various components of design composition, where the relationships between these components reinforce the main goal or communication that the designer had in mind.

The use of a variety of elements aims at creating interest and impact. Unity is achieved when:

  • Elements within a composition are harmonious and not competing against one another. Any contrasts are planned.
  • The core theme is communicated clearly.
  • The whole design seems complete; as one.

Sometimes unity is deliberately avoided, which is a message in itself.

Activity 15 Unity

Look at Figures 25 and 26. Do you think unity is achieved? If not, why? What might non-unity mean?


We feel that in Figure 25 the various elements (posters, tags and graffiti) do not form a unity, but celebrate the fact that they were contributed by different artists. Everyone can use this space to fight for attention.

In Figure 26, the accumulation of a variety of building types does not achieve a visual unity. Again this variety expresses the importance of the different origins of the buildings and their purpose today.


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