The Rise Of The Visual CV: 5 Design Principles You Should Adopt ASAP

Posted On 9 Mar 2016

The Rise Of The Visual CV: 5 Design Principles You Should Adopt ASAP

9 Mar 2016
The Rise Of The Visual CV: 5 Design Principles You Should Adopt ASAP

Candidate Resource, Interview Tips

The Rise Of The Visual CV: 5 Design Principles You Should Adopt ASAP

Visual CVs are on the rise, but is this something you should adopt?

If you’re in a creative industry, visual CVs have their advantages, but as much as we’d like to believe that a beautiful CV can land you your dream job, the fact of the matter is that anything too different from the norm probably isn’t going to do you any favours.

Hiring managers are time poor, so when it comes time to screen hundreds of CVs, any information that cannot be found within seconds is going to land that CV in the ‘too hard’ pile. Yes, visual CVs are great at simplifying information, but because we’re so used to purely textual CVs, reading them isn’t necessarily intuitive.

The best CVs strike the perfect balance by using visual design principles to spruce up the existing textual CV. Looking to spruce up your CV but don’t know where to start? We’ve compiled our 5 favourite design principles to help you transform your resume.

White space

White space is the space in between the other elements on your page. Put simply, the more you put on your page, the less white space present. White space helps the reader to comfortably navigate your CV. If your CV is too busy or overly crowded, this disorganisation will transfer to the reader, encouraging a sense of confusion or ill-ease. Aim for a simple CV design with ample white space.


When it comes to including colour in your CV, don’t go overboard. Colour should be used strategically to create contrast between different sections and highlight important information. If you would like to add a splash of colour in your CV, we recommend sticking to 1-2 colours and using colour for smaller sections of text such as headings or subheadings.


Repetition of a particular style or colour promotes consistency and encourages overall cohesion. Done right, repetition will strengthen your CV by bringing together disparate parts i.e. the different sections/subheadings. You might like to try styling all your headings in the same font or colour, keeping your tone of voice and tense consistent and ensuring that spacing between lines and paragraphs is the same.


Balance can be tricky to master because it is as much about look as it is about feel. By this, we mean that there are no hard and fast rules about what constitutes a balanced CV; rather, you must simply take a step back from the computer screen and get a feel for whether or not your CV is pleasing to the eye. Generally speaking, if something isn’t right, it’ll stand out immediately. If this is the case, you may want to rearrange your layout, ensure that each section aligns to an invisible grid or play around with the scale/size of your headings.

Less is more

‘Less is more’ isn’t strictly a design principle, but one of the things great designs often have in common is their simplicity. This goes for the colour and composition of your CV, as well as its length! It is impossible to set a page limit for a CV, but the best advice we can give is to include everything that relevant and nothing more. Do we need to know that skiing is your favourite hobby? Probably not. Keep it relevant, keep it professional.