We've put unity last on this list for a reason—it only occurs when all the various elements within a design coexist to form a holistic experience that’s pleasing to the eye.
Unity adds order and makes a piece feel like a coherent whole, instead of a messy combination of individual parts that just so happen to exist on the same page. It's developed both visually and conceptually.
- Visual unity. An extension of “harmony”, is about elements working together, like colour schemes, the use of complementary styles, and in some cases, the repetition of colours and elements to achieve consistency. An example would be using the same colours for all the buttons on a webpage to keep the design cohesive.
- Conceptual unity. Is when you combine elements for the user’s convenience; it’s about blending form and function in a natural way. An example of this is how you can double-tap on Instagram to “Like” an image—it reduces friction and requires less action from the user.
To achieve unity you need to look out for three things: whether the elements you’ve used have a good reason to be there, whether they work together, and whether the message or concept you’re trying to display is communicated clearly.By making sure your designs unite you reduce cognitive load and ensure viewers actually understand whatever it is your design is trying to achieve.