Well executed design is all about using the principles wisely and effectively . This ad by Volkswagen illustrates each of the design principles subtly and with great success.
The ad uses a clever alignment trick with the strong diagonal line of each item. If the items were scattered randomly throughout the ad, there would be no connection to parking that the marketers are implying. The words on the page are aligned with a strong right alignment which mimics the same diagonal line mentioned previously. Finally, the Volkswagen logo, and the text line up perfectly with the bottom of the diagonal, giving the image implied margins and a road map for attention in the order it is intended.
The area of highest contrast always becomes the focal point in an image. Here, the porcupine is the area of greatest contrast in texture, size, and grouping. We can clearly see which of these is not like the other! Volkswagen also cleverly included their logo with a dash of color contrast, blue is found no where else in the ad, and it is a complement to the fish in an otherwise neutral environment.
In this case, the items that belong together (in spite of their contrast within the group) are placed near each other. The line of objects are mimicking a line of vehicles, and their close relationship to each other are effectively communicating that visually. The text on the ad are also grouped closely together to give unity to their message, and if that isn’t enough, this text is also grouped with the logo.
The repetition of the orange fish works elegantly to create the needed repetition in this ad. These little fish and the bags that contain them are the only repetition found in the image. It is enough to give the ad the needed element of this last principle. Imagine if each bag contained a different kind and color of fish! The ad would be completely lacking in repetition and fail to be an effective example of good design.
When each design principle is included, the strongest results occur. A little wit never hurt anything, either, but this ad would not visually communicate effectively if it were lacking in any one of the principles. Identifying them and learning them is great practice for remembering to use them in my own design.