Elements and Principles of Design

By Andrei Turcanu

Point

Most basic element of design that has position but no dimension and is used to indicate location

Line

Has only a length dimension and is used to define boundaries, indicate volume, create perspective and depth, create textures and patterns, suggest movement, and imply emotion

Vertical line

Vertical lines represent dignity, formality, stability, and strength

Color

Has an immediate and profound effect on design

Value

Relative lightness or darkness of a color, object, or shape allowing us to perceive shapes and the illusion of 3D objects

Shape

A 2D area enclosed by lines or curves

Mechanical Shape

Simple shapes made of straight and curved lines

Form

A 3D volume or solid implied on a 2D surface by careful use of value

Space

Areas between and around parts of an image or the implied depth in that image

Texture

The surface look or feel

Smooth Texture

Reflects more light and has more intense color

Balance

The distribution of elements within a design

Asymmetrical Balance

Elements are not identical but are arranged to provide a balanced visual weight

Emphasis

Used to draw attention to one area using a focal point

Contrast

The degree of relative difference between elements

Rhythm

Repeated use of line, shape, color, texture, or pattern

Graduated Rhythm

Repeated element is identical with the exception of one detail increasing or decreasing gradually with each repetition

Proportion

Comparative relationship between elements in a design with respect to size

Unity

Consistent use of design elements

Economy

Use of bare minimum of elements

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