Knolling in Design

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      Knolling is a term used to describe a specific method of organizing and arranging objects in a visually appealing and systematic way. It involves laying out items side by side at right angles to each other, with equal spacing between each object. The goal of knolling is to create a clean and organized layout, often used for photography or display purposes.

      The term “knolling” was popularized by Andrew Kromelow, a janitor at Frank Gehry’s furniture fabrication shop, who used this method to organize the tools and equipment. The concept has since gained popularity in various fields, including art, photography, design, and social media.

      It is especially common in industries where attention to detail, organization, and aesthetics are essential. It is often used by photographers and stylists to capture visually appealing images of objects, products, or tools. In addition to aesthetics, knolling can also serve practical purposes, as it makes it easier to identify and access each item in the arrangement.



      1. Gather the objects: Choose the items you want to arrange. These can be tools, gadgets, stationery, art supplies, or any other objects you want to showcase or organize.
      2. Clear a flat surface: Find a clean and flat surface to use as the backdrop for your knolling arrangement. It can be a table, desk, floor, or any other suitable area.
      3. Clean the objects (optional): If the items you are using are dirty or dusty, take a moment to clean them. This step ensures that your knolling arrangement looks professional and tidy.
      4. Sort and group the objects: Group similar items together. For example, if you have various stationery items, group pens, pencils, erasers, and markers separately.
      5. Arrange the objects: Place each item on the flat surface side by side. Ensure that all objects are aligned at right angles to each other, creating a clean grid-like layout.
      6. Maintain equal spacing: Pay attention to the spacing between each object. Aim for equal distance between items to create a sense of balance and symmetry.
      7. Align the edges (optional): For a more polished look, you can align the edges of the objects, so they form straight lines and create a more organized appearance.
      8. Capture the arrangement: If you want to document or share your knolling arrangement, take a photograph from a top-down perspective. This angle provides a clear view of the organized layout.
      9. Store or display the knolling: Depending on your purpose, you can either leave the knolling arrangement on display or carefully put the items back in their designated storage places.


      1. Visual appeal: Creates a clean and aesthetically pleasing display. The organized arrangement of objects with equal spacing and right angles results in a visually harmonious composition.
      2. Enhanced organization: By arranging items in a knolling layout, it becomes easier to identify, locate, and access specific objects. This organization can be especially valuable in workplaces, studios, or workshops where efficiency and productivity are essential.
      3. Effective communication: Can be used to communicate information about different items or components of a project. In fields like design, art, or manufacturing, it helps convey the diversity and scope of materials or tools involved.
      4. Photography and social media: Has gained popularity on social media platforms and in product photography. It enables photographers and influencers to showcase objects in an appealing and shareable way.
      5. Attention to detail: The process involves careful attention to the positioning and alignment of objects. This attention to detail can extend to other aspects of work and life, fostering a sense of mindfulness and precision.
      6. Inspires creativity: Encourage creative thinking by presenting familiar objects in a new and intriguing arrangement. It may spark ideas or inspire artists, designers, or creators to approach their work from different angles.
      7. Professional presentation: In professional settings, it is often used to present products, tools, or components in a polished and well-organized manner. This can leave a positive impression on clients, customers, or colleagues.
      8. Simplified inventory management: In inventory management scenarios, knolling can help identify missing items or manage stock levels effectively. The visual arrangement makes it easier to notice any discrepancies or shortages.
      9. Educational purposes: Used in educational contexts to demonstrate the different elements of a project, provide a visual guide to assembling parts, or teach organization and tidiness.
      10. Stress reduction: A well-organized and visually appealing knolling arrangement can create a sense of order and calm, potentially reducing stress and anxiety in cluttered environments.


      1. Time-consuming: Arranging objects in a knolling layout can be time-consuming, especially when dealing with a large number of items. This may not be ideal in situations where efficiency and speed are crucial.
      2. Space requirements: Often requires a significant amount of space to lay out objects in a visually appealing manner. In environments with limited space, this method may not be feasible or practical.
      3. Not suitable for all objects: Works best with objects that have consistent shapes and sizes. Irregularly shaped or large objects may not fit neatly into the grid-like arrangement, making the display less visually pleasing.
      4. Vulnerable to disruption: Arrangements can easily be disrupted or disturbed, especially in high-traffic areas or busy workspaces. Keeping the display organized may require frequent adjustments and maintenance.
      5. Limited storage efficiency: While knolling can be visually appealing, it may not always be the most efficient use of storage space. In some cases, other organization methods like stacking or using containers may be more space-saving.
      6. Prone to dust and dirt: Open knolling displays are susceptible to collecting dust and dirt over time, which can affect the overall presentation and require frequent cleaning.
      7. May prioritize aesthetics over functionality: In some cases, the focus on creating an aesthetically pleasing arrangement might overshadow the practicality and functionality of the organization. The primary purpose of the items could be lost in favor of visual appeal.
      8. Not suitable for all contexts: Well-suited for certain fields and settings, such as art, design, or photography, but may not be as applicable in more utilitarian or industrial environments.
      9. Requires careful maintenance: To keep the knolling arrangement looking neat and organized, regular attention is necessary. This can be a challenge in busy workspaces or environments with limited resources for maintenance.
      10. Cultural and contextual considerations: May not be universally appreciated or understood in all cultures or settings. Some individuals or groups might not find the method meaningful or practical.

      What Is Knolling in design

      Knolling in design

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