elements principles of design manual

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elements & principles


DESIGNA manual by Jesus De la Rosa Texas A&M Kingsville

DESIGN PROCESSDesign means to plan and organize it is the opposite of chance.

When we say, it happen by design we mean something was planned.

It didnt occur by accident.Design is inherent in the full range of art disciplines. People in all occupations plan, but the artist or designer plans the arrangements of elements to form a visual pattern. The arts are called creative fields because the arts dont have predetermined correct answers to problems. This is not the case in the field of graphic design because graphic designers are given a problem with specific options and defined limitations. The creative aspect of art also includes the oftenheard phrase there are no rules in art Sure, this is true, there are no absolutes. However

no rules doesnt imply that all designs are equally valid and visually successful. Artistic

practices and criteria have been developed from successful works of which and artist or designer should be aware. Thus guidelines not rules will assist in the creation of designs, but doesnt mean that the artist is limited to any specific solution. The elements and principles of design are the foundation used to create a work of art or design.



elements & principlesThe FabricThe LAWPrincipals of Design are therules, fundamental law, doctrine or a code of conduct for elements of design. Unity Repetition Emphasis and Focal Point Scale/Proportion Balance Rhythm

What is the difference between the

DESIGN?Elements of Designrudiments the fundamental elements that make up the fabric of a piece of artwork or design. Line Shape Form Space/Volume Value Texture Color

DESIGN PROCESS Elements of Design

Line is a path made by a tool that moves across an area.Lines define shape, contours, and outlines, they can suggest mass and volume. It may be a continuous mark made on a surface with a pointed tool or implied by the edges of shapes and forms. Lines can have many characteristics:Continuous - never ending line Width- thick, thin, tapering, uneven Length - long, short, continuous, broken Direction- horizontal, vertical, diagonal, curving, perpendicular, oblique, parallel, radial, zigzag Focus- sharp, blurry, fuzzy, choppy Feeling- sharp, jagged, graceful, smooth Outlines- Lines made by the edge of an object or its silhouette. Contour Lines- describe the shape of an object and the interior detail. Gesture Lines- are energetic and catches the movement and gestures of an active figure. Sketch Lines- capture the appearance of an object or impression of a place. Implied Line- Lines that are not actually drawn but created by a group of objects seen from a distance.

Exercise: Draw a single line to describe the following: 1. an emotional state 2. a musical phrase 3. a place 4. a person 5. an environment 6. a verb.

DESIGN PROCESS Elements of Design

Shape a is created by lines crossing or intersecting with other lines to enclose a space.Shapes Can Be: Geometric Shapes-Circles, Squares, rectangles and triangles. Organic Shapes-Leaf, seashells, flowers. Positive Shapes-are the solid forms in a design. Negative Shapes-In a drawing it is the space around the positive shape Static Shape-Shapes that appears stable and resting. Dynamic Shape-Shapes that appears moving and active.

Exercise: Create a Shape 1. Create a Geometrical Shape: shade the positive space 2. Create an Organic Shape: shade the negative space

DESIGN PROCESS Elements of Design

Form is the three-dimensionality of an object. Shape is only two-dimensional; formis three-dimensional. You can hold a form; walk around a form and in some cases walk inside a form. In drawing or painting using value can imply form. Shading a circle in a certain manner can turn it into a sphere.

DESIGN PROCESS Elements of Design

Space/Volume is created by line, shape and form. In two dimensional art thearrangement of these elements can create the illusion of space through perspective . In three dimensional the viewer can walk into a tangible space.

DESIGN PROCESS Elements of Design

Value the range of light and dark. Shading Value can be created by lines, dotsValue Scale in ten percent increase tints

(halftones) and the arrangement of the distance between lines or dots. In the adobe software you will use tint percentages to create value.

Value Scale in halftones

DESIGN PROCESS Elements of Design

Texture is rough, smooth, soft or hard. In two dimensional art texture is implied,with line, value, form and shape.

DESIGN PROCESS Elements of Design

Color Light is the source of color. Wavelengths coming from the sun vibrate at different speeds, the human mind responds to these wavelengths and the sensation of color is produced. Gradient made in InDesign

DESIGN PROCESS Principals of DesignUNITY


nity an agreement existing between the elements of design looking as though they belong together. Designers use unity to make elements in a composition appear to belong together. When each element has a clear visual relationship to one or more of the other elements, the composition is unified. Harmony is another term for the idea of unity Ways to achieve unity Proximity, The simplest method of making objects appear to belong together is to group them closely together. This allows us to see a pattern.

What element is being used to group the dancers together?

Edgar Degas Dancers in Blue, c.1895


Repetition of color, shape, texture or object can be used to tie a work together.

Louise Nevelson Sky Cathedral


Repetition can be achieved through continuation of line, edge or direction from one area to another. Can you find the continuous line in the photograph?

Jan Grover, 1987 Gelatin-Silver Print


To identify emphasis, look at a design and see if you can easily answer these questions:What is the first thing I see? What is the second thing I see? What is the third thing I see?These questions lead you to recognize the visual hierarchy within a design. Visual hierarchy consists of a clear focal point, the most emphasized element, and accents, elements of lesser importance than the focal point. Designers use emphasis to help readers identify the relative importance of each element in a composition.

Ways to achieve Emphasis by Contrast A focal point results when one element differs from the others.

George Stubbs, Zebra, 1763

DESIGN PROCESS Principals of DesignEMPHASIS & FOCAL POINTEmphasis by Isolation A single element can be isolated among similar elements by having a contrast of placement not form.

Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci Emphasis by Placement The placement of elements of design my function in another way. If many elements point to one item our attention is directed there.

Jim Hodges, Oh Great Terrain, 2002

DESIGN PROCESS Principals of DesignEMPHASIS & FOCAL POINTEmphasis by One Element A specific theme calls for the use of one dominant element or a visually overwhelming focal point.

Damien Hirst, The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living 1991

DESIGN PROCESS Principals of DesignEMPHASIS & FOCAL POINTEmphasis by Focal Point being absent: The emphasis is on the whole.

Jackson Pollock, White Light, 1954

DESIGN PROCESS Principals of DesignScale/Proportion


cale refers to size proportion refers to relative size or size measured against other elements or standard. Life size, larger than life size, smaller than life size.

Donald Judd, Stack, 1667

DESIGN PROCESS Principals of DesignScale/ProportionScale Confusion In this case the side-by-side scale changes causing the viewer to stop and reconsider how we view things.

Charles Ray, Family Romance, 1993



qual distribution of visual weight with in a composition .The two main types of balance are symmetrical and asymmetrical: Symmetrical In symmetrical balance shapes are repeated in the same position on either side of a vertical axis. This type of symmetry is also called bilateral symmetry. One side mirrors the other.

Joseph Albers

DESIGN PROCESS Principals of DesignBALANCEAsymmetrical In Asymmetrical balance is achieved with similar objects that have equal visual weight.

Ham Steinbach, Supermely black, 1985



esigners use rhythm to create movement in a composition by positioning elements so that the eye is led to move from one to another. Repeating elements can create a smooth, controlled rhythm.

Bridget Riley, Arrest, 1965