THE ELEMENTS OF DESIGN AND PRINCIPLES OF DESIGN
The Elements of Design are the things that artists and designers work with to create a design, or composition. The Elements are: line, shape, space, value, color and texture.
Line … The Graphic Unifier, Curved, Straight. Directional Thrust: Horizontal, Vertical, and Diagonal.
Shape … Naturalistic, Geometric. (The Golden Mean)
Space / Size … Large, Medium, Small. Proportion or Scale. (The Golden Mean)(Perspective)
Value … Light, Dark. (Value Patterns)(Arial Perspective)
Color … Hue, Chroma, and Value. (The Color Wheel)
Texture … Rough, Smooth, Soft, Hard.
The Principles of Design are achieved through the use of the Elements of Design. Each principle applies to each element and to the composition as a whole. The Principles are: unity, harmony, balance, rhythm, contrast, dominance, and gradation.
Unity … Echoes of all elements relating.
Harmony … Within each element and as a whole.
Balance … With the "weights" of the segments of each element.
Rhythm … Variety and Repetition.
Contrast … Alternation.
Dominance … Within each element. (Center of Interest, Focal Point)
Gradation … Modeling, (3-D effect), Transitions.
A COMPOSITION is an arrangement of all the elements, which achieves a unified whole. But alas, it is merely a tool to create form and content. Content relates to human emotion and the intellect and is the end result of the reasons for painting. Design is a means to that end.
See: Types of Compositions and A Simple Approach to Good Design.
ATTRIBUTES are defined as the qualities that the art or design conveys to the observer.
Emotional … Active, Passive
Esthetic … Realistic, Impressionistic, Abstract, Decorative
Spatial … Depth, Flat