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Elements and principles of design

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The principles of design describe the ways that artists use the elements of art in a work of art. Balance is the distribution of the visual weight of objects, colors, texture, and space. If the design was a scale, these elements should be balanced to make a design feel stable. Elements: Line: A continuous mark made on a surface by a moving point; it may be flat or three- dimensional. Line may be explicit – a line painted along the edge of the road – or Implied by the edge of a shape or form.

Lines are used to outline create shading and show form, decorate, express emotion, and direct the viewer’s eye. Lines can be categorized as horizontal, vertical, diagonal, curved, and zigzag. Shape: An enclosed space defined by a line or by contrast to its surroundings. Shapes are two-dimensional (flat): circle, square, triangle, organic blob, etc. Form: A three-dimensional object: a defined volume of space. Color: The visible spectrum of radiation reflected from an object. Three properties of color are: Hue – The name of the color (red, green, etc.

Intensity or Saturation -? The purity (brightness or dullness) of the color. Pure red Is bright; red mixed with a little green becomes less intense, more neutral. Value or Brightness – The lightness or darkness of a color. How much white or black shows through or is mixed in. Can be used to depict light and shadow on a color and help show volume/form. Other terms used to talk about color include tint, shade, tone, temperature (warm, cool, neutral), and various color harmonies or schemes, such as monochromatic, analogous and complementary. Texture: The tactile sensation or feel of a surface (rough, smooth, spiky, etc. Or how something appears to feel. Space: The distance or area around or between elements of an artwork. The Illusion of depth created on a flat surface through the use of perspective, overlapping elements, size, and level of detail, color and value. Value: How light or dark an object or element is, independent of its color. Shading uses value to depict light and shadow and show volume/form. And more pleasing. Purposely using a limited range of values (all darks, grays, or sights) can set the mood of the piece, from mysterious to peaceful to ethereal.

Work that uses only very bright and very dark values, with no grays or middle tones, is very contrasts and can be very bold, stark and stylized. Principles: Pattern: Patterns are groups of elements or motifs that repeat in a predictable manner. Contrast: The difference in quality between two instances of an art element, or using opposing qualities next to each other. For example, black and white (contrasting values), organic/curvy and geometric/angular (contrasting lines/shapes/forms), and cough and smooth (contrasting textures).

Balance: The distribution of interest or visual weight in a work. If all the visually interesting elements of a work are centered in one spot, the work is off-balance and the viewer’s gaze will be stuck in one place, ignoring the rest of the piece. A balanced piece of work will have art elements arranged such that different areas draw the viewer’s eye around or through the whole piece. Some types of balance are symmetric, asymmetric, and radial. Harmony: Harmonious elements have a logical relationship or progression – in some ay they work together and complement each other.

When a Jarring element is added – something that goes against the whole – it is said to be dissonant, Just like an off-note in a musical performance. Unity is created by using harmonious similarity and repetition, continuance, proximity and alignment, and closure of design elements in different parts of the work so that the parts RELATE to each other and create a unified whole, that can be greater than the sum of the parts, rather than an ill-fitting ND meaningless assortment of elements.

Movement: Using art elements to direct a viewer’s eye along a path through the artwork, and/or to show movement, action and direction. Also, giving some elements the ability to be moved or move on their own, via internal or external power. Emphasis: Emphasis is created by visually reinforcing something we want the viewer to pay attention to. Focal points are areas of interest the viewer’s eyes skip to. The strongest focal point with the greatest visual weight is the dominant element of the work.

Elements of secondary importance could be termed sub-dominant, and elements with the least visual weight subordinate. Isolation, leading lines and convergence, contrast, anomaly, size, placement, framing, focus and depth of field, and absence of focal points are some of the strategies used to help create these degrees of importance. Rhythm: When motifs or elements are repeated, alternated, or otherwise arranged, movement. In visual rhythm, design motifs become the beats. Rhythms can be broadly categorized as random, regular, alternating, flowing, and progressive.

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