Alignment is a dedicated art. This essential design principle helps you create order and hierarchy in your designs – resulting in beautiful and easy to read layouts.

Designing an original layout that both reads effectively and looks beautiful is no small feat. Between endless elements such as images, text, shapes, icons and more – it’s important to know where to place them in your designs.

Apply these five tips to give your designs a professional edge. Want to put your skills into action? Try the interactive tutorial at the end of this blog.

01. Ensure all of your elements are aligned

Ensure all of your elements are aligned

When you move your elements around your design in Canva, a dotted line will appear when they line up with one another. It doesn’t matter if you align your elements to the right, left, or centre – it’s important to make sure they all stack in relation to one another.

Aligning all of the elements in your design will give it a sense of order and help it appear visually pleasing. Note here how there is horizontal and vertical alignment happening simultaneously.

02. Apply even line spacing

Align multiple elements evenly

When aligning multiple elements make sure the space between them is even. This will help them read clearly and breathe within your composition.

In this example, a line has been used to break up the two sections of text. This helps create order and distinguishes the title from the rest of the text.

03. Align your elements horizontally and vertically

Align your elements horizontally and vertically

Every one of your designs will have a horizontal and vertical axis. Make sure your elements are aligned to both – this will ensure that they sit harmoniously within your design.

Alignment can also apply to single images in your designs. Imagine horizontal and vertical lines creating a point of focus when considering how to crop your images within grids.

04. Align your text to suit your images

Align your text to suit your images

The alignment of your text will need to be tailed to the placement of your images. For example, if you choose a background image with lots of copy space to the left, this is a great opportunity to left align your text.

Similarly, if you’re placing light text over a darkened background, create focus by aligning it in the centre of your composition.

05. Leave a margin around your design

Use even padding to help your elements breathe

Leaving equal padding around your design will help create focus. Keep this in mind when left or right aligning elements – make sure they never touch the edge of the page.

In this example a border of equal padding has been used around the main image. This helps frame the composition and gives it room to breathe.

Allow your designs to shine by introducing the art of alignment! Apply these practical tips in the interactive tutorial below.

Anna heads up several of Canva's content marketing projects, including her favourite: Design School. She's passionate about the way content can be used to create a meaningful synergy between businesses and their audiences. Say hello on Twitter @AnnaIsabella92.