Useful meets beautiful

Visual design guidelines

Form follows function

Visual design communicates messages and solves problems in emotionally compelling ways.

A bee with illuminating hexagons in the background A bee with illuminating hexagons in the background


Defer to content

Users care deeply about their content and often want to immerse themselves in it. Give the content center stage in your layout. Design for experiences that are unobtrusive and reduce distraction to lend focus to the work at hand.

Clarify complexity

When aiming for “clear and straightforward interactions”, cultural complexities of the users must be considered to ensure that people from different cultures will be able to understand the actions presented. Clarity enhances understanding by helping distinguish between elements. Often we strive for simplicity, but many of our solutions are complex. Design for clear and straightforward interactions to instill a feeling of confidence and ease. Our users should always know what to do and how to do it.

Make the useful beautiful

Utility satisfies needs, but beauty drives desire. Don’t simply make something that works. Design for experiences that people love to have repeatedly. Create aesthetically pleasing offerings that carry a consistent meaning in their form and function.

Make your move

Designer Miles Anderson talks about how using the IBM Design Language helps him and his team find their voice.

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