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72 Examples of Design Constraints

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Design constraints are limitations on a design. These include imposed limitations that you don't control and limitations that are self-imposed as a way to improve a design. The following are common examples of design constraints.
APIs that must be used
Animation guidelines & limitations
Background color limitations
Brand colors
Brand fonts
Brand style guides
Budget limits
Building codes
Business processes
Client device limitations
Color schemes
Compatibility with platforms
Consistency in visual styles
Consistency with other designs
Cost limitations
Cultural or societal norms
Data privacy regulations
Design for accessibility compliance
Design for manufacturing constraints
Design for shipping and logistics constraints
Design principles such as form follows function
Durability guidelines
Energy consumption
Environmental conditions
Ergonomics guidelines
File size limitations
Geographic constraints
Grid layout constraints
Guidelines for icons and symbols
Image format standards
Image resolution guidelines
Industry standards
Information hierarchy standards
Intellectual property rights
Labeling regulations & industry practices
Legal constraints
Licensing restrictions for images
Limited computing power
Material constraints
Mobile-first design principles
Multilingual support
Navigation layout restrictions
Noise levels
Physical space limitations
Platforms that must be used
Printing constraints
Procurement processes
Quality standards
Regulatory requirements
Resource availability
Responsive design practices
Restricted use of patterns or textures
Safety regulations & standards
Screen resolutions
Security standards
Sensory constraints related to taste, touch and smell
Shelf space limitations
Software dependencies
Sustainability constraints
Sustainability goals
Target technical environments
Text alignment rules
Text legibility
Trade-dress guidelines
Typeface limitations
Unit cost constraints
Usability considerations
User interface standards
Vibration levels


Design constraints are foundational limitations placed upon a design. These can be internal constraints such as principles and guidelines that you adopt as a team or organization. Constraints can also be external things such as regulations or industry standards.

Constraint vs Requirement

A constraint is foundational and nonnegotiable whereas a requirement is flexible and shaped by stakeholders. For example, a business unit may have no choice but to comply to a brand style guide so this would be a constraint and not a requirement.


In many cases, constraints are imposed by internal and external realities. For example, a software design that must be deployed to your current systems. External constraints are often based on regulations and market realities such as competition and customer expectations.
Summary: Design Constraints
Limitations on a design.
Related Concepts
Next: Design Requirements
More design considerations:
Brand Identity
Brand Image
Color Harmony
Color Theory
Custom Fit
Design Characteristics
Design Function
Design Goals
Design To Cost
Form Factor
Human Factors
Human Factors
Human Scale
Public Spaces
Shape And Form
Urban Design
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