The Elements and Principles of Design
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The Elements and Principles of Design

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A very simple overview of the elements and principles of design. Created for EDU 290, Technology in Education.

A very simple overview of the elements and principles of design. Created for EDU 290, Technology in Education.

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  • Lines are made by moving dots.Lines can be used to convey emotion, horizontal lines are peaceful or restful. The Architect Frank Lloyd Wright uses horizontal elements to stress the relationship between the structure and the land. Vertical lines are used to create a feeling of dominance and spirituality. Many religious structures use towering vertical lines to express a sense of power. Diagonal lines are used to create a feeling of movement and tension. Because they are neither vertical or horizontal, they give the feeling that they are about to fall. In two dimensions, diagonal lines are used to illustrate perspective and create space.When horizontal and vertical lines are used together, they convey stability.Softly curved lines express comfort, familiarity, and relaxation. They are reminiscent of the human body and are therefore aesthetically pleasing.Angled curves however, suggest confusion and frenzy.
  • Form is a shape, and in order to be a shape, it must be contained in space. In the image above, the puzzle piece depression is creating negative space, meaning that it creates the shape of the puzzle piece, but it is empty.
  • Movement can be both literal or figurative. In the photograph, the movement is literal since the photo was taken as the train passed by. Before photography, movement was shown usually by using diagonal lines and in how they positioned the images in their composition.
  • Color is used in many ways in compositions since different colors have different meanings.Red is associated with feelings of passion, energy, anger, or violence.Orange suggests approachability and informality.Yellow is optimistic and upbeat, but it can become overwhelming if used to too great a concentration.Green can suggest life, restfulness, and stability but it can also represent decay, toxicity, and artificiality.Blue suggests coolness, spirituality, and elegance. Blue can also imply sadness or depression.Violet is the color of fantasy and playfulness, but it can also represent nightmares or madness.
  • There are many types of visual texture, rough, hard, smooth, soft, and sometimes even wet and dry. Texture can be either real, like in the photo above, or imaginary like in a painting of a soft looking fabric.
  • Direction uses line to convey it’s meaning. In the image above, the diagonal lines suggest chaos while drawing the viewer’s eye back into the picture plane.
  • Proportion is the relationship between the size and scale of the elements in a design. This relationship can be between the objects, parts, or the whole.
  • Balance creates visual stability. In three dimensional objects, if balance isn’t achieved, the object falls over. In two dimensional objects there are different types of balance. Symmetrical balance, also called formal balance, is equal weight on both sides of the picture plane.Approximate symmetry is similar to formal balance, but the objects in balance aren’t the same.Asymmetrical balance, also called informal balance, is placing objects in a way that one portion of the picture plane looks heavier than the other, but balance remains. The image shows asymmetrical balance, the buildings and space needle are heavier on the left, but the smaller buildings and river help to balance the composition.
  • Gradation is a subtle change from different tones of a color, or different colors entirely. It creates interest and movement to a shape, drawing your eye along the shape.
  • Repetition is an element that is repeated in an image. Repetition that has variation is more interesting than repetition without variation.
  • Contrast is when two or more elements are put in opposition to each other. This can be through contrasting color, light and dark, black and white, big and small, and others.
  • Harmony combines similar elements in an image, it can be done through color or similar forms.
  • Dominance makes a specific element in a composition stick out more than the others. It gives the image interest and keeps it from getting boring. Inserting a dominant direction, size, or shape are ways to create dominance.
  • Rhythm is a path your eye follows through a composition. In the image, your eye follows the steps around the staircase by making a measured jump from step to step.
  • Unity and variety are used together in compositions to create a feeling on completeness. Unity is only achieved by having elements that are similar, but variety keeps the composition from getting boring by allowing for different elements that are related, but not the same. In the image, all the parts are related to cameras, they are unified in their subject, but there is variety because they aren’t all the same part.
  • Unity and variety are used together in compositions to create a feeling on completeness. Unity is only achieved by having elements that are similar, but variety keeps the composition from getting boring by allowing for different elements that are related, but not the same. In the image, all the parts are related to cameras, they are unified in their subject, but there is variety because they aren’t all the same part.

Transcript

  • 1. The Elements and Principles of Design
    By Chelsea Flattery
  • 2. What Are They?
    Elements of design are the parts.
    They structure and carry the work.
    Principles of design are concepts.
    They affect content and message.
  • 3. Line
    Line is a moving dot.
  • 4. Form and Space
    Form is an area surrounded by space.
    Space can be positive or negative.
  • 5. Movement
    Movement is the relocation of an object in space over time.
  • 6. Color
    Color is the hue, shade, or tone of an object.
  • 7. Texture
    Texture is the visual surface quality of an object.
  • 8. Direction
    Direction is the course along which a line moves.
  • 9. Proportion
    Proportion is the relative size and scale of elements in a design.
  • 10. Balance
    Balance relates to our physical sense of balance.
  • 11. Gradation
    Gradation is the change from one color to another.
  • 12. Repetition
    Repetition is one, or similar elements that are repeated.
  • 13. Contrast
    Contrast is when elements are different.
  • 14. Harmony
    Harmony is when elements are related.
  • 15. Dominance
    Dominance is when one object is emphasized more than another.
  • 16. Rhythm
    Rhythm is a measured movement through space.
  • 17. Unity and Variety
    Unity is asetofelementsfrom the same family. Variety is elements that are similar, but not the same.
  • 18. Your Turn!
    What elements and principles do you see being used in this image?
  • 19. Sources
    Jirousek, C. (1995). Elements of Design. In Art, Design, and Visual Thinking. Retrieved September 28, 2009, from
    http://www.char.txa.cornell.edu.
    Lovett, J. (1999). Elements and Principles of Design. In John Lovett Watercolor and Mixedmedia Artist. Retrieved September 28, 2009, from http://www.johnlovett.com/test.htm
    Line: Mike Chaput-Branson, “Line Up The Color” January 19, 2008 via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution, Noncommercial, Share Alike License.
    Form and Space: Ntr23, “Ice Form” August 19, 2006 via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution, Noncommercial, Share Alike License.
    Image Sources
  • 20. Image Sources
    Movement: Ed Schipul, “Orange Line @ eTech 2007” March 28, 2007 via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution, Share Alike License.
    Color: Nasplayer, “Rainbow Colored Milk Drop Splash (Explore 108)” June 11, 2009 via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution, No Derivative Works License.
    Texture: Lucy Nieto, “Tapete de Plástico – 2007” November 24, 2007 via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution, Noncommercial, Share Alike License.
    Direction: Jeff Bauche, “Abstract Life Line” January 21, 2008 via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution, Noncommercial, No Derivative Works License.
    Proportion: Alper Çuğun, “Disproportion” July 4, 2007 via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution, Noncommercial License.
  • 21. Image Sources
    Balance: Terence T.S. Tam, “Space Needle and Pacific Science Center” October 6, 2008 via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution, Noncommercial, Share Alike License.
    Gradation: Natrium Chlorine, “IMGP4383a2” October 18, 2008 via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution, Noncommercial, Share Alike License.
    Repetition: Kevin Dooley, “Angles, Lines, Light, and Shadows” November 7, 2007 via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution License.
    Contrast: CatalineOlavarria, “Al Fondo a la Derecha” September 2, 2006 via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution, Noncommercial, Share Alike License.
  • 22. Image Sources
    Harmony: Kris De Curtis, “Christmas in Love…” December 12, 2007 via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution, Noncommercial, No Derivative Works License.
    Dominance: Toshihiro Oimatsu, “Emphasis” June 23, 2009 via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution License.
    Rhythm: ZeroOne, “Spiral Staircase” July 2, 2007 via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution, Share Alike License.
    Variety: Ross Orr, “Series VI” September 26, 2007 via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution, Noncommercial, No Derivative Works License.
    Your Turn!: RomnickSimplicio, “Africa Fighting Below the Line - Print Ad (Education)” June 24, 2008 via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution, Noncommercial, No Derivative Works License.