Principles of Design
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
In symmetrical balance,
the elements used on one side of the design are similar to those on the other
In asymmetrical balance,
the sides are different but still look balanced.
In radial balance,
the elements are arranged around a central point and may be similar.
is the part of the design that catches the viewer's attention. Usually the
artist will make one area stand out by contrasting it with other areas. The area
will be different in size, color, texture, shape, etc.
is concerned with the size relationships of one part to the whole and one part
is created when one or more elements of design are used repeatedly to create a
feeling of organized movement. Variety is essential to keep rhythm exciting and
active, and moving the viewer around the artwork. Rhythm creates a mood like
music or dancing.
is the feeling of harmony between all parts of the artwork creating a sense of
oneness or completeness. Unity can be established by the following methods:
Placing objects close together.
Using edges or lines that travel from one part of a composition to another
Repeating the elements of design (line, shape, color and texture) creates unity
within the artwork.
Elements of Art/Design
is a mark with greater length than width. Lines can be horizontal, vertical or
diagonal, straight or curved, thick or thin.
is a closed line. Shapes can be geometric, like squares and circles; or organic,
like free formed shapes or natural shapes. Shapes are flat and can express
length and width.
are three-dimensional shapes, expressing length, width, and depth. Balls,
cylinders, boxes and triangles are forms.
is the area between and around objects. The space around objects is often called
negative space; negative space has shape. Space can also refer to the feeling of
depth. Real space is three-dimensional: in visual art when we can create the
feeling or illusion of depth we call it space.
is light reflected off objects. Color has three main characteristics: hue or its
name (red, green, blue, etc.), value (how light or dark it is), and intensity
(how bright or dull it is).
is the element of art that deals with darkness or lightness. Value depends on
how much light a surface reflects. Value is also one of the three properties of
is the surface quality that can be seen and felt. Textures can be rough or
smooth, soft or hard. Textures do not always feel the way they look; for
example, a drawing of a porcupine may look prickly, but if you touch the
drawing, the paper is still smooth.