ladislav sutnar published visual design in action
in 1961 to establish his principles of design, intensifying clarity and efficiency in graphic work.

with these three principles as a basis–visual interest, continuity, and simplicity implemented to a grid structure–design is evaluated as a process which intensifies comprehension.

: explore principles below

visual interest

: a magnet for curiosity

visual continuity

: perpetual order in unity

visual simplicity

: less is more


: structure under the surface

visual interest

in the poster, the design becomes a bold visual shorthand. The familiar shapes, hanging on, or cut by the poster’s upper border, suggest a view of tires under a vehicle. the shapes are arranged in different directions to suggest speed. the word is broken up so that one letter is assigned to each tire. this also affords better letter spacing for distant reading.

To gain visual interest, the use of such design elements as shape, line, and color
should result in an unorthodox pattern, intriguing enough to attract attention.

visual continuity

it stands for the accumulation of the forces of individual sequences multiple by the integrated design of the whole. it results in the fast perception of information flow. any form of dynamic visual continuity demands imaginative use of repetition and change of design elements, to create a continuously unified, through varied, visual relationship of units in space-time.

Varying the rhythm by coupling frames together dramatizes the content.

With function, flow, and form as a basis, design is evaluated as a process culminating in an entity which intensifies comprehension.

: Ladislav Sutnar
  Visual Design in Action, 1961

visual simplicity

to meet the demand for fast perception, visual simplicity requires selectivity of design means for direct visual performance. basically, reducing the visually complicated to the most simple expression creates this visual simplicity.

The use of simple shapes as identifiers demonstrates the value of a simple, clear shape, to facilitate quick recognition.


underlying grid

Spacing dimensions and specifications of type sizes, weights, and color are varied according to the relative importance of information and show the calculated aspect of this design to produce intended sequence of information.

Ladislav Sutnar. Catalog Design. Published 1944 by Sweet's Catalog Service.

overlying design

Visual unit from a catalog on instrumentation that describes varying instrument components.