nYou could make six contour plots and look at the six components of stress that make up the von-Mises stress. The six components are directional, so you get a different value depending on which coordinate system you plot the stress in. It is generally more useful to transform the angle at which you are plotting the stress into one that causes the shear components to be zero. That is what the Max Principal and Min Principal stresses are. They are the stresses that result from choosing a coordinate system where the shear stress is zero. It is also helpful to plot these as a vector graph so you can see the angle of the coordinate system used to compute the principal stress, since the angle changes at every point in the part.nThe simplest advice on how to think about a structure to reduce stress caused by applied force is this: Axial Good, Bending Bad. That means design parts so that the load path travels axially through the part. Avoid part designs where the load tries to bend the part. nThe simplest advice on how to design structures that have a required bending displacement, such as a cantilever spring, is to use taper. Either taper the thickness of the part, or taper the width of the part so that the fixed support has more material than the tip where the displacement is enforced. Make the part longer to reduce stress. Of course, there is usually a competing metric such as reaction force, so that becomes an optimization problem to minimize stress subject to a required force at a required displacement (or spring rate).nI don't know of a book or paper that covers this kind of knowledge.n