Foundations of Design
• The first decision we are
faced with in any creation is
the choice of our format.
• Since the Renaissance
formats often have a
proportion known as The
• The Golden Ratio can also be
calculated as: 1.618….
•The most basic element of any
composition is the point.
•The point is a small mark placed in the
composition and is not to be confused
with the geometric point, it is not a
•The point has form and color. This form
can be a square, a triangle, a circle, etc.
•According to its placement on the plane
the point will have different effects.
It can be isolated or put in resonance
with other points or lines.
•The line is the product of a force. The force
applied on the pencil or on the paint brush
by the hand of the artist.
•The produced linear forms can be of
several types: a straight line, an angular
line, or a curved or wave-like line.
•The effect produced by a line depends on
its orientation: the horizontal line
corresponds to the ground on which man
rests and moves and has a static effect. The
vertical line corresponds to height and to
mans aspirations to the heavens.
Wassily Kandinsky 1866-1944
• Born to a musical family the
influence of music on Kandinsky’s
art and theories is immense.
• Kandinsky studied law and was
active as a lawyer up until his early
thirties. His orderly, lawyer’s mind is
evident in his work as well.
• Kandinsky was heavily influenced by
Theosophical teachings and believed
that the universe is put together
from basic building blocks all
evolving towards consciousness
Kandinsky – the artist
• Kandinsky’s art career was
ignited by his visit in 1895 to
an Impressionist exhibition
where he witnessed Monet’s
“Haystacks at Giverny”
• Kandinsky started his art
studies in his thirties and
combined his artwork with
extensive theoretical writings.
• One of the most famous 20th-
century artists, he is credited
with painting the first modern
• One of the master teachers at
the Bauhaus school in Weimar.
Claude Monet -
Haystacks at Giverny
1890; Oil on canvas,
Kandinsky and the metaphysical in Art
Yellow, Red, Blue
1925; Oil on
• Kandinsky’s greatest contribution to the evolution of Art and Design was his formulation of an
approach that maintained that in order for Art to attain a universal significance it must free itself of
“decoration” and “rhetoric” and remain a whole unto itself, having significance only as a function of
the spiritual quest of it’s creator.
• Kandinsky believed art to be an autonomous language governed by it’s own set of universal rules –
similar in many ways to music.
Point and line to plane (1926)
• Kandinsky’s theoretical analysis of the geometrical
elements that compose every painting, are the basis of
our discussion of composition.
• The novelty of Kandinsky’s approach is that he bases
his research on the point of view and inner effect that
these elements have on the observer who looks at
them and lets them act on his senses.
• Kandinsky believes that the artist is obligated to
employ color and form to best create an experience
that is in harmony with his inner world.
Lets look at some simple line and
point black and white