How to Use the Rule of Thirds in Web Design [Quick Tip]

Rule of Thirds in Web Design is a quick tip that designers can use to help make their web pages more attractive. Rule of Thirds is not only one way to use the Rule of Thirds, but it’s also an important tool for web design and layout.

Rule of Thirds creates a dynamic balance between negative and positive dead space, which makes your website look less cluttered. This article will show you how to apply Rule of Thirds using popular website tools like Adobe Photoshop and Dreamweaver as well as WordPress themes for beginners like Thesis 2 or WooThemes’ Twenty Eleven.

Rule of Thirds in Web Design

Let’s start with an example to illustrate the “Rule of thirds” to understand in relation to web design.

Consider this picture of a bull in a field:

Bull in the middle of the field, symmetrical design example

Not too interesting, is it? As the center of the picture, the bull picture feels a bit boring and predictable. I’m ready to bet if you saw this picture on a website you wouldn’t think about it too long.

Now consider what changes if we use the rule of thirds to place the Taurus away from the center:

Taurus to the right of the field, asymmetrical and an example of the rule of thirds

A little more interesting, isn’t it?

The rule of thirds can help make your designs feel less predictable and more intriguing. And ultimately, it can keep the viewer’s attention longer – which is crucial when you’re trying to attract new audiences and convert those audiences into leads for your brand.

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. Perhaps you decide your designs are more compelling when they are symmetrical. However, you cannot make the deliberate decision to have your own website until you have considered your options.

Here’s how to use the rule of thirds in design and UI design to take your images to the next level.

Use of the rule of thirds in design

Put simply, the rule of thirds assumes that designs are more interesting and visually appealing when you place the main objects of your design on one of the four intersections of a rule of thirds grid or in one of the sections of the third.

It’s no secret that art is more than just guesswork. Geometry dates from Roman times and has always had a place in major works of art.

Let’s look at an example to understand the rule of thirds.

The rule of thirds draws two lines perpendicular to one side and two lines horizontally to one side to create one Grid of nine boxes.

This will divide your page into three-thirds, whether you cut the image horizontally or vertically:

Example of a third grid

To use the rule of thirds in design, you simply need to off-center your objects by inserting them into one of the sections of the third (cross sections):

the left and right third section in a third grid

Sweet Spot

The sweet spot in the Rule of Thirds is the intersection where two lines meet. This is a great place to position your subject in a photo or design, as it will be the most visually appealing and balanced area.

… Or at one of the intersections:

the intersections on a third grid

In the example shown above, the main focus – the mountain top – is in the first third of the photo to the left of the center of the image.

Fortunately, using the Rule of Thirds in your own images with a design tool like Photoshop that has a grid function is easy enough so that you can make sure that you are using the Rule of Thirds accurately to create a more harmonious, interesting design.

Next, let’s explore in four quick steps how to create the rule of thirds grid in Photoshop.

Create a rule of thirds in Photoshop

1. To use Photoshop’s Rule of Thirds tool, just open a blank page in Photoshop and click “view” → “Show” → “Grid”:

Create a rule of thirds in Photoshop. First go to show> grid.

2. Next go to “Settings” → “Guides, grids and slices”:

Create a rule of thirds in Photoshop. Go to Settings> Guides, Grids and Slices.

3. Next, choose the color of the grid lines along with the solid line. Then change “Gridline Every” in “100 percent” with subdivisions of “3”. When you’re done, click “OK”.

Guides, grids, slices in Photoshop to use the third copy rule4. And there you have it! You now have a rule of thirds. To add your image, just drag and drop it onto the existing layer grid, expand it to fill the grid, then move your focus object until it’s either in one of the thirds or at one of the four intersections .

A full rule of the third grid in Photoshop with an image transposed over it.

Aesthetically Pleasing

When it comes to using the Rule of Thirds in web design, one of the most important things to keep in mind is that balance and harmony are key. You want your design to look aesthetically pleasing, and using the Rule of Thirds can help you achieve that goal.

By dividing your layout into thirds and positioning your elements along the lines or intersections, you can create a more harmonious design. The Rule of Thirds can also help you choose fonts and colors that will work well together. So next time you’re working on a website design, try using the Rule of Thirds to create a more balanced and appealing layout!

Call to Action

The call to action in Rule of Thirds in web design is to help you create more balanced and appealing designs. It can also help you determine where to place your text, headlines, and other important elements. So next time you’re working on a website design, try using the Rule of Thirds to create a more balanced and appealing layout!

First Thing

In web design, the “First Thing” is the most important element that you want people to focus on. It’s typically positioned in the center of the page or at one of the intersections where the lines meet in the Rule of Thirds.

Horizon Line, Key Points, Photography Composition, Banner Ads, Sweet Spots,

Examples of rules of thirds in UI design

To see the power of the rule of thirds in user interface design, let’s take a look at some website examples, with a particular focus on which websites use the rule of thirds.

1. Soulful Vibes Co.

The homepage of Soulful Vibes Co., an example of the rule of thirds in web design

Here the designer puts the main focus – on the crystal rocks and the pearl bracelet with an elephant – on the left and right third sections to ensure that the visitor’s focus is on the central text itself: “It’s not just a movement, it’s a lifestyle.”

The designer uses the rule of thirds to create a peaceful, harmonious, casual aesthetic that looks more open and inviting than if both objects were in the front and center on the side, which would likely feel more crowded and hectic.

2. HubSpot

The HubSpot homepage, an example of the rule of thirds in web design

HubSpot uses the rule of thirds to get instantly on its tagline and the CTA “Get HubSpot free” on the home page as most visitors’ attention starts on the left side of your website. Then the cartoon images are placed in the right third area to level out the side. This helps create a user flow – from left to right – that would be more difficult to achieve with a symmetrical design.

3. Frans Hals Museum

The homepage of the Frans Hal Museum, an example of the rule of thirds in web design

This Dutch museum website uses the rule of thirds to draw attention to the photo of the woman in the left third. The page is unique, engaging, and cohesive, and uses counter images to balance out the asymmetrical structure of the page. For example, while the larger picture of the woman is on the left of the screen, there is text and additional images on the right to compensate for it.

When to break the rules (by thirds)

It is important to note that in design and art, there are no strict rules to follow, and there are exceptions to every design rule or trend.

Once you understand the rule of thirds and how it can affect the user experience, if you see fit, you can break this rule.

For example, it may be more imperative to keep your pictures in the center of your screen, as shown on the Tone Dermatology homepage:

Tone Dermatology's homepage is an example of when you might not want to use a rule of thirds (in which case, it looks better if it's symmetrical).

Here the focus on the woman in the center is compelling and bold, especially since she is looking to the left of the screen. So it is still an asymmetrical picture (you only see her eyes and nose on the left and you only see her hair on the screen on the right).

This design layout works well for grabbing the visitor’s attention – and probably wouldn’t have been as effective if the designer had used the rule of thirds to place the woman on the left or right side of the screen.

Ultimately, you want to choose design elements that best fit the needs of your own brand. When in doubt, experiment with either of the more symmetrical designs and Third draft rule, and consider A / B testing to see which one does best with your audience.

Golden Ratio

The Golden Ratio is a mathematical principle that helps you create more balanced and appealing images. It states that you should divide your image into two parts, with the larger section being around 1.6 times the size of the smaller section. You can then position your subject at one of the intersections where the lines meet.

Golden Ratio in Web Design:

1. Determine the subject in your photo or design. The “subject” is what you want to emphasize, such as a person on a canvas painting, or a logo on a business card. It’s where you want people to focus their attention when looking at your design.

2. Place the subject along one of the horizontal line, close to either side and roughly halfway up the page from both ends of the page (or closer if more than halfway like in the image below). An important exception to note here is that it might make sense for photos with strong horizontals (like landscapes) to be centered rather than aligned with any particular line as this creates a more stable balance.

3. Place any supporting features or “secondary subjects” along the vertical lines. Doing this will make them feel like they’re secondary to the main subject and help maintain balance in your design.

4. You can also use the Golden Ratio to place text on your website. Try to align headlines along with one of the horizontal line and put subtitles along the vertical lines.

5. As always, don’t be afraid to experiment! The Golden Ratio is just a guideline and you might find that breaking it in certain cases can actually create a more interesting or dynamic design.

FAQs about Rule of Thirds in Web Design:

1. What is the Rule of Thirds in web design?

The Rule of Thirds is a basic principle of composition that helps you create more interesting and appealing images. The rule states that you should divide your image into nine equal parts by drawing two lines diagonally across the image, and then position your subject along with one of these lines or at one of the four intersections where they meet.

2. How can I use the Rule of Thirds to improve my website?

To use the Rule of Thirds in Web Design:

1. Determine the subject in your photo or design. The “subject” is what you want to emphasize, such as a person on a

canvas painting, or a logo on a business card. It’s where you want people to focus their attention when looking at your design.

2. Place the subject along one of the horizontal third lines, close to either side and roughly halfway up the page from both ends of he page (or closer if more than halfway like in the image below). An important exception to note here is that it might make sense for photos with strong horizontals (like landscapes) to be centered rather than aligned with any particular third line as this creates a more stable balance.

3. Place any supporting features or “secondary subjects” along the vertical third lines. Doing this will make them feel like they’re secondary to the main subject and help maintain balance in your design.

4. You can also use the Rule of Thirds to place text on your website. Try to align headlines along one of the horizontal thirds lines and put subtitles along the vertical thirds lines.

5. As always, don’t be afraid to experiment! The Rule of Thirds is just a guideline and you might find that breaking it in certain cases can actually create a more interesting or dynamic design.

To sum it up, using the Rule of Thirds in web designers can help you create more balanced and eye-catching designs. It can also help you determine where to place your text, headlines, and other elements on the page. So next time you’re working on a website design, give the Rule of Thirds a try and see if it helps you create a better overall design!

3. What are some popular tools for applying the Rule of Thirds in web design?

Photoshop, Affinity Designer, Sketch.

4. Can you give some examples of how to use the Rule of Thirds in web design?

There are lots of ways to use the Rule of Thirds in web design, but some of the most common ways are by using it as a guide for creating asymmetrical layouts, placing important elements in the intersections, and using diagonal lines to create tension. You can also use it to help you choose fonts and colors that will create a harmonious design. As always, experimentation is key when it comes to finding what works best for your own website.

Related Posts