F Patterns. 

This is most common for text-heavy designs. It follows the shape of the ‘F’, starting at the top left and moving horizontally across to the top right.

Viewers then scan down the left-hand side of the page in search of short headlines or subheads to quickly scan right. 

Z Patterns. 

Less dense designs follow a ‘Z’ shape. Viewers start at the top left and move horizontally across to the top right, then cast their eye downward on a backward diagonal slope to the lower-left corner, and finally across to the right-hand corner. 

Depending on what you’re designing, these patterns give a good indication where your most important elements should be placed. 

Establishing a Visual Flow. 

In web design, logos are almost always in the top left corner. This has been shown to increase brand recognition and improve navigation.

In namecard printing, logos usually sit at the bottom of the page along with a call to action that tells viewers what to do before they turn the page. 

Both are based on the concept of visual flow. As a designer, you’re in control of the flow, placing objects in a way that will draw the eye to particular things. When designing, ask yourself these three questions: 

  1. Where will the viewer’s eyes initially go (the focal point)? 
  2. Where’s the second place the eye will go? 
  3. Where does the viewer’s eye finally end up? 

Thinking about your design in terms of flow is a great exercise. Even if you have more than three elements, prioritizing the three above will indicate where those other elements should be placed. Establish a visual flow to avoid eyes bouncing around the design.