design

Elements and Principles

By knowing and absorbing the elements and principles of design you attain a valuable intuitive resource. As with the layouts, experimentation is the best way to gain familiarity with these pesky but important precepts.

Elements 

Line – a mark with greater length than width which can be thick, thin, diagonal, straight, vertical, horizontal or curved; defines contours; indicates movement and direction; can suggest a mood.
Working with line can be enlightening. It can turn what starts out as a little dot into a beautiful work of art. Paul Klee is one of the artists who took line to a spiritual plane in my view. Check out some of his work if you want to learn about the art of line.

Shape –¬†a closed line that can be organic (my favorite–for now), geometric or flat expressing length and width.

Form – 3-D shapes that express length, width and depth; conveys volume.

Space – the area between and around objects; referred to as negative when around the object and has shape; can refer to the feeling or illusion of depth; real space is 3-D.

Texture – the surface quality that can be seen, imagined or felt; can be rough, smooth, hard or soft.

Color – the light reflected off of objects; hue (blue, green, etc.), value (the lightness or darkness), intensity (how bright or how dull).
Color is my utopia. I am eternally, desperately in love with color. Although, a blank canvas can make quite a statement.

Principles

Balance – the distribution of visual weight; concerning the heaviness or lightness of objects, color, texture and space; balance can make a design feel stable or chaotic.

Emphasis – the part of the design that catches the attention of the viewer; usually a focal area that stands out due to contrast; a difference in size, color, texture, shape, etc.

Movement – the route the viewer’s eye travels while observing the work; usually along line edges, shape and color planes.

Pattern – repeating of an object or symbol all over the artwork.

Repetition – creates unity within the work.

Proportion – brings the feeling of unity through the appropriate use of size, amount and number.

Rhythm – when one or more elements of design is used repetitiously in order to create a feeling of organized action; creates a mood.

Variety – the use of several elements of design to hold the attention of the viewer; guides the viewer’s eye throughout the work.

Unity – the feeling of harmony; all parts of the work create a sense of integrity; completeness.

I will attempt to create some good examples of each in my next post. Wish me luck!