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ELEMENTS AND PRINCIPLES OF DESIGN CONFUSION

I will give you my current take on what is an element and why principles cause so much confusion. Space as a visual element is difficult to conceptualize and hard to explain. Is it worth it? Who needs to know it? I find it easier if we put some time into ways artists create an Illusion of Space (depth) (a visual effect). I have added a category. 1. Visual Elements (the asi! thin"s that !an e seen# $. Desi"n an% C&m'&siti&n P(in!i'les (a((an"in" the asi! thin"s ette(# ). Visual E**e!ts (+a,s t& *&&l the e,e - ma.e an im'(essi&n# n element is one of those most !asic visi!le things. In science" the elements are on the periodic chart (hydrogen" iron" oxygen" gold" sulfur" etc.). ll the complex chemicals are simply com!inations of these (#$%). In art" it is an element if it is visi!le and there is nothing more simple or !asic to define it. It cannot !e a com!ination of more than one thing and still !e an element. In practice" the elements are commonly seen in com!ination with each other. &or example" color and value are very different elements" !ut they always exist in com!ination with each other. &or that matter" color always exist in com!ination with 'saturation'" !ut no!ody includes 'saturation' in their list of elements" !ut value is one every list. (o figure. )his stuff is not logically consistent. Saturation (intensity) sometimes shows up in the description of a principle" !ut generally saturation is neither an element nor a principle. P(in!i'les are even more confusing than elements. )here are at least two very different !ut correct ways of thinking a!out principles. %n the one hand" a principle can !e used to descri!e an operational cause and effect such as '!right things come forward and dull things recede'. %n the other hand" a principle can descri!e a high *uality standard to strive for such as 'unity is !etter than chaos' or 'variation !eats !oredom' in a painting. So" the same word" 'principle' can !e used for very different purposes. )he first way to think a!out a principle is that a principle is something that can !e repeatedly and dependa!ly done with elements to produce some sort of visual effect in a composition. I am not confident that any list of these principles is comprehensive" !ut there are some that are more commonly used (theme with variation to give interesting unity" simultaneous repetition with change to create unity and interest" devices to create depth illusion" devices to create motion effects" etc). nother way to think a!out a principle is that it is a way to express a value +udgment a!out a composition. I am not confident that any list of these effects is comprehensive" !ut there are some that are more commonly used (unity" !alance" etc). When we say a painting has UNIT/ and DEPT0 we are making a value +udgments. )oo much unity without variety is !oring and too much variation without unity is chaotic. ,nity and depth are examples of visual effects produced !y the first definition of principle.

ELEMENTS AND PRINCIPLES OF DESIGN T0ESE DEFINITIONS 1RING SUCCESS TO 2EN SC03A1
C&m'&siti&n
n orderly arrangement of elements using the principles of design )he principles of design help you to carefully plan and organize the elements of art so that you will hold interest and command attention. )his is sometimes referred to as visual impact. In any work of art there is a thought process for the arrangement and use of the elements of design. )he artist who works with the principles of good composition will create a more interesting piece of art it will !e arranged to show a pleasing rhythm and movement. )he center of interest will !e strong and the viewers will not look away" instead" they will !e drawn into the work. good knowledge of composition is essential in producing good artwork. Some artists today like to !end or ignore these rules and therefore are experimenting with different forms of expression. We think that composition is very important. )he following will assist you in understanding the !asics of a good composition-

Elements &* Desi"n


Line . is a mark on a surface that descri!es a shape or outline. It can create texture and can !e thick and thin. )ypes of line can include actual" implied" vertical" horizontal" diagonal and contour lines. (note- /en does not list 'psychic line' . that was 'new term' to me) C&l&( . refers to specific hues and has 0 properties" 1hroma" Intensity and 2alue. )he color wheel is a way of showing the chromatic scale in a circle using all the colors made with the primary triad. 1omplimentary pairs can produce dull and neutral color. 3lack and white can !e added to produce tints (add white)" shades (add !lack) and tones (add gray). Te4tu(e . is a!out surface *uality either tactile or visual. )exture can !e real or implied !y different uses of media. It is the degree of roughness or smoothness in o!+ects. Sha'e . is a $.dimensional line with no form or thickness. Shapes are flat and can !e grouped into two categories" geometric and organic. F&(m . is a 0.dimensional o!+ect having volume and thickness. It is the illusion of a 0.4 effect that can !e implied with the use of light and shading techni*ues. &orm can !e viewed from many angles. Value . is the degree of light and dark in a design. It is the contrast !etween !lack and white and all the tones in !etween. 2alue can !e used with color as well as !lack and white. 1ontrast is the extreme changes !etween values. Si5e . refers to variations in the proportions of o!+ects" lines or shapes. )here is a variation of sizes in o!+ects either real or imagined. (some sources list 5roportion6Scale as a 5rinciple of 4esign) )hese elements are used to create the 5rinciples of 4esign. 5rinciples are the results of using the 7lements. When you are working in a particular format (size and shape of the work surface) the principles are used to create interest" harmony and unity to the elements that you are using. 8ou can use the 5rinciples of design to check your composition to see if it has good

structure.

P(in!i'les &* C&m'&siti&nal Desi"n


)he principles of design are the recipe for a good work of art. )he principles com!ine the elements to create an aesthetic placement of things that will produce a good design. Cente( &* inte(est . is an area that first attracts attention in a composition. )his area is more important when compared to the other o!+ects or elements in a composition. )his can !e !y contrast of values" more colors" and placement in the format. 1alan!e . is a feeling of visual e*uality in shape" form" value" color" etc. 3alance can !e symmetrical or evenly !alanced or asymmetrical and un.evenly !alanced. %!+ects" values" colors" textures" shapes" forms" etc." can !e used in creating a !alance in a composition. 0a(m&n, . !rings together a composition with similar units. If your composition was using wavy lines and organic shapes you would stay with those types of lines and not put in +ust one geometric shape. (9otice how similar #armony is to ,nity . some sources list !oth terms) C&nt(ast . offers some change in value creating a visual discord in a composition. 1ontrast shows the difference !etween shapes and can !e used as a !ackground to !ring o!+ects out and forward in a design. It can also !e used to create an area of emphasis. Di(e!ti&nal M&6ement . is a visual flow through the composition. It can !e the suggestion of motion in a design as you move from o!+ect to o!+ect !y way of placement and position. 4irectional movement can !e created with a value pattern. It is with the placement of dark and light areas that you can move your attention through the format. Rh,thm . is a movement in which some elements recur regularly. :ike a dance it will have a flow of o!+ects that will seem to !e like the !eat of music. The P(in!i'les &* %esi"n a(e the (esults &* ,&u( +&(.in" +ith the elements &* a(t. Use them in e6e(, 'ie!e &* a(t ,&u %& an% ,&u +ill e ha'', +ith the (esults.

Principles & Elements of Design


Principles and Elements of Design is what this page will focus on. What exactly does "Principles and Elements of Design " mean? Principles of design are the laws of designing anything! In other words, to have a good design, you should consider these principles for the best design possible. lements of design on the other hand are things that are involved within ma!ing a design. "he ma#or difference between principles and elements is that principles are rules you have to follow and elements are things that will help you complete those rules for the best pro#ect outcome.

Principles of Design, as said before, are the laws of designing anything! When ma!ing a design the seven principles are contrast, emphasis, balance, unity, pattern, movement, and rhythm. $onsider each of these carefully for any design and you%ll be a guaranteed a great pro#ect! Contrast means showing differences in two different sections of the design or showing somehow that the design being created is very different from other designs because of its contrast. $ontrast can also be used to show emphasis in any part of the design. Emphasis is given to an area within the design because that area is meant to be seen or is more important to be noticed when compared to other places of the design. &or example, your design might be to have white parallel lines going up and down. In the center of this design, you could have a circle. "his circle would be a part on the design that is emphasi'ed. Balance means !eeping your design li!e a pattern. ( balanced pattern would be if you had a border on your pattern in blac!. )nbalanced would be if approximately one*third of the border was orange and the other two*thirds in pin!. "o !eep your design balanced, ma!e your measurements as accurate as possible. +eeping your design symmetric is a good techni,ue for good balance, but not necessarily the best for all types of designs. Unity means !eeping your design in a sort of harmony in which all sections of the pattern ma!e other sections feel complete. )nity helps the design to be seen as one design instead of randomness all around your design. Pattern is simply !eeping your design in a certain format. &or example, you could plan to have wavey lines all around your design as a pattern, but then you must continue those wavey lines throughout the design for good patterns. It wouldn%t loo! good if suddenly you stopped all the wavey lines and drew a picture of a dog. Movement is the suggestion or illusion of motion in a painting, sculpture, or design. &or example, circles going diagonally up and down from right to left could show that the design moves up and to the right or down and to the left. Rhythm is the movement or variation characteri'ed by the regular recurrence or alternation of different ,uantities or conditions. In simpler words, it%s #ust li!e pattern and shows that the desing has a %beat% or %flow% going with it. ( plain white box has almost no rhythm what so ever.

Elements of Design, as said before, are things that are involved within ma!ing a design. "he seven elements of design are color, value, texture, shape, form, space, and line. lements of design will help your design loo! a lot more uni,ue from other designs, and can help ma!e the design symboli'e anything! Color is an easy one. -ust ma!e sure your design%s color is right for the mood! (lso ma!e sure that each section%s color matches another section%s color. $olors is probably the biggest element to pay attention to. Value is the relative dar!ness or lightness of a color. -ust as said in the paragraph above, ma!e sure the colors you put on your design are dar! or light enough for the proper mood. If you want to show a sad figure in your design, most people would give the design a dar!er value. .n the other hand to show happy children playing around most people would recommend lighter colors. Te ture helps your design to be distinctive or have identifying character and characteristics. With the proper texture, your design will loo! more fascinating than the average design. !hape is something distinguished from its surroundings by its outline within your design. /ou can ma!e your whole wor! a certain shape besides the common s,uare, and then have shapes within the design shape. "his ma!es the design more complex. "orm is similar to the idea of shape. &orm is the structure of your design and how everything in the design loo!s li!e it%s meant to go together. If the form is well planned and then carried out, it almost guarantees your design in blac! and white will be a success. !pace has to be included in your design. 0pace means leaving some blan! areas. Why would you wanna leave parts of the design blan!? 0ometimes a human%s eye needs space to feel confortable, and space will let the human%s eye distinguish the part that%s meant to be noticed compared to #ust the bac!ground. 0ometimes not including space in your design is o!, but ma!e sure it doesn%t ma!e it loo! messy. #ine defines the position and direction of the design. If you have lines or shapes that seem to be running hori'ontally, then the design would seem li!e it%s running in a left and right line. 1a!e sure your design identifies some sort of line so that the human eye can recogni'e which side is the top of the design or on which side the design is suppose to start with interest.