A well designed Notion page effectively serves its purpose through a pleasing aesthetic. Guided by these principles, you’ll design highly functional pages that collectively form powerful Notion workspaces.
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Notion Design Principles
As you implement design principles in your pages, reference other pages that use them effectively. Draw from them what you like most. Here are some examples:
Identify the objective.
What’s the purpose of the page? Articulating the objective will inform the content you include (and exclude), and the way that content is presented. Some pages may need to convey a project’s progress simply and quickly; others might deliver a particular message and sentiment.
Create visual hierarchy.
By varying size, color, position and block types, you can create a hierarchy of importance and a natural path for the viewer’s eye. Visual hierarchy significantly enhances the page aesthetic and the retention of its content.
Headings 1, 2 and 3 is the most common approach to this hierarchy. You can also draw attention to text with Callout and Quote blocks. In Pocket Casts × Nutt Labs, a Quote block brings emphasis to the opening statement:
For text of lesser importance, consider coloring it gray or rolling it into a Toggle block. The NBA — in Notion uses a Callout to instruct visitors to choose database views. That Callout is grayed in order to reduce its visual prominence:
Minimize the volume of content to maximize its impact and create aesthetic minimalism. Stay focused on your defined objective, and include only information that supports it.
Part of Notion’s unique power is in its linked hierarchical pages, so when you can, break your content into multiple pages with an intuitive wiki-like navigation structure.
You can also use toggles to hide content until the viewer actively expands it. This retains minimalism without eliminating essential content. The Loggerhead Labs Home Base rolls resources into Toggle blocks:
Likewise, the employee homepage hides the “Assigned Tasks,” which are referenced less frequently than the other essential content.
Also be sure to avoid redundancy. Rather than creating two Linked Databases for the same database, create multiple views of the same Linked Database. Under “My Areas” in the employee homepage, the Linked Database includes “Clients” and “Internal” views.
Block variation enriches the aesthetic of your page and keeps visitors engaged. Utilize Notion’s full spectrum of blocks, including Callouts, Quotes and Toggles, to the extent your content allows.
For high-priority links, consider using Callouts arranged in columns:
Space and divide your content.
Segmenting your content into sections makes it more visually satisfying and easier to comprehend. Using Headings, Dividers, full-width Images and ample spacing, create strong separations between the sections of your page.
Negative space is a core tenet of good design; use it liberally and creatively without hesitation. Bittermilk × Loggerhead Labs uses a blank column to artificially “align” a subtle note above a table:
Use columns when you can; enable full-width when you must.
Like diversifying blocks, columns can vary the structure of your page to increase aesthetic appeal and viewer engagement. For narrow content types, such as Table of Contents blocks, small photos, and simple lists (bullets, numbers, to-dos and databases), consider creating columns. The NBA — in Notion offers a nice example of columned databases.
You can even place a section’s heading in an adjacent column rather than above the content, as you see in Pocket Casts × Nutt Labs:
However, be sure to avoid columns when they cause abbreviations via ellipses.
While the default page margins offer appealing negative space, full-width pages are more suitable for wider content, such as databases with a high volume of content.
Use icons — consistently.
Icons make a nice enhancement to the top of a page, but they’re particularly pleasing in references to that page, such as Link to Page blocks, databases and your sidebar. That’s particularly true in databases: When all items include an icon, databases are particularly attractive. In The NBA — in Notion, the logos are used as icons to transform the team lists:
When choosing your icons, utilize a single library for consistency. Consider a minimalist, monochromatic collection, such as those available on Notion Icons.
Use colors with purpose.
Without a deliberate approach, colors can quickly turn your page into a sparkly fairyland. Pick just a few for your pallet, and add them only to support your visual hierarchy. Bittermilk × Loggerhead Labs uses only red — in the Table of Contents, hyperlinks and emphasized words:
Optimize for all screens.
Any functional website is device-agnostic, and the same holds true for Notion pages. As you design your pages, remain mindful of mobile viewers, particularly in your use of columns.
Have your own tips for beautifying Notion pages?
Tweet them @WilliamNutt.