Visual Hierarchy

Visual hierarchy is a principle in which some elements stand out or are the first thing you see over others; it shows order of importance. It is used to guide the way viewers read an image. For example, if one wanted their audience to read the most important piece of information in a poster first, they would make this stand out in some way, possibly by making it bigger or bolder than every other element on the poster.

The building blocks of visual hierarchy include: size, colour, contrast, alignment, repetition, proximity, whitespace and texture & style.

The concept of visual hierarchy comes from Gestalt psychology, the philosophy that believes all objects and scenes can be observed in their simplest forms.

In relation to identity design, visual hierarchy is critical, for instance a logo is made up of only the most important and relevant elements to show what the brand is, and no other information should be necessary, otherwise this can’t be considered a successful logo.


“What is Visual Hierarchy?” The Interaction Design Foundation. Accessed August 16, 2020.

“Gestalt Psychology: Definition & Principles.” Accessed August 20, 2020.


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