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Elements & principles of art

  1. 1. Design Principles – Part 2 Elements & Principles of Art Created by Mr. D. SARAVANAN., MFA Assistant Professor, SRM Institute of Science and Technology, Ramapuram Campus, Ramapuram, Chennai.
  2. 2. Elements of Design: The elements of design create every object around us. Nothing can exist without these elements. The discipline of learning the power of these elements and formatting them within the principles of design is the basic responsibility of the designer. All designs have certain basics elements or building blocks chosen to convey the message. Basically there are seven elements of design; they are dots, lines, shapes, form, space, texture and colour.
  3. 3. Dot/ Point: Points or dots are the simplest element of visual design and they are the building blocks of everything. The characteristic of a dot is that it’s a point of focused attention. Dots anchor themselves in space and establish a relationship with the space around it. If there is only one point or dot on a blank page, the brain will have its own meaning and look for some kind of relationship.If there are two points, immediately the eye will make a connection and ‘see’ a line. If there are three points, it is obvious that the brain understand them as a triangle. Things get more interesting when more than one dot is added and they interact with each other. When the dots get closer together they start to be seen as a single object. If the dots are allowed to get closer till one dot overlaps the other, the tension between the space decreases and create a new appearance of depth. Dots working together can form an endless variety of arrangement and solidity. The dot can become lines, curves, shapes, patterns, textures, and any other structure imaginable. Dots in combination can even form direction and movement.
  4. 4. Line: Line is one of the oldest and most fundamental tools in the visual art that was found in cave paintings and rock carvings some 20,000 years before. In geometry, a line is described as the shortest distance between two points. The aesthetic definition of line is the visual connection of two points. Out of various design elements that are used for design, line is one of the simplest and most useful elements. The type of lines use in design can convey different feelings, moods and add strength to our ideas.Frequently, lines are used to divide sections of a page or layout and to join sections that are related to each other. The lines are also used to frame photographs, separate sidebars and join articles together. Lines can be long or short, straight or curved; line can also be horizontal, vertical or diagonal. Lines can be solid, dashed, thick, thin, or of variable width. Lines can indicate direction of movement or provide an anchor to hold elements on a page. The basic types of lines are horizontal lines, vertical lines, diagonal lines and zigzag or freeform lines.
  5. 5. Horizontal: · Horizontal: Horizontal line suggests a feeling of rest or repose. Objects parallel to the earth are at rest in relation to gravity. Therefore designs in which horizontal lines dominate tend to be quiet and restful in feeling.
  6. 6. Vertical: · Vertical lines communicate a feeling of dominance and spirituality. Vertical lines seem to extend upwards towards the sky that is beyond human reach. They often dominate public architectures from cathedrals to the corporate headquarters.
  7. 7. Diagonal: · Diagonal lines suggest a feeling of movement or direction. Since objects in a diagonal position are unstable in relation to gravity, they are either about to fall or are already in motion. The diagonal lines are used to indicate depth or an illusion of perspective. The diagonal lines can also be used to create a feeling of movement or feeling of activity.
  8. 8. Curve: · Curve: Curved lines are lines that bend and change direction gradually. They can be simply wavy or spiral. Such lines convey the feelings of comfort and ease, as well as sensual quality as they remind us of the human body.
  9. 9. Zigzag: · Zigzag lines are a series of diagonal lines joined at ends. They can convey action and excitement, as well as restlessness and anxiety.
  10. 10. Shape: Shapes are the basic element of design. The shapes are made up of closed lines that create two dimensional objects used in the design. Shapes are used to convey meaning and organize information. Basically there are three types shapes used in the design; they are geometric shapes, natural shapes and abstract shape.
  11. 11. Geometric Shapes: · People naturally like to align any objects to the horizontal and vertical lines. Geometric shapes are the most basic shapes used by any designer. In mathematics, Geometric is the study of shapes and their relationships. Geometric shapes are structured and often symmetrical in shapes. Some of the common geometric shapes used in the design are squares, circles, triangles and etc.
  12. 12. Square: · The Square denotes honesty, stability, equality, comfort, or familiarity. Square could also symbolize inflexibility or uniformity.
  13. 13. Circle: · Circles suggest infinity and protectiveness. Circle can denote free movement such as rolling ball or denote more controlled movement such as spinning globe. The Circle can also be used to highlight, organize or solid.
  14. 14. Triangle: • Triangles suggest action and dynamic. Triangles may also convey either conflict or strength. Triangle can represent a religious Trinity, pyramid, flag, arrow and etc.
  15. 15. Natural Shapes: Natural shapes are the shapes that are found in nature and most often represent real world objects. Natural shapes are often irregular, complex, asymmetrical and random than geometric shapes. Some of the common natural shapes are tree, human, animals and etc.
  16. 16. Abstract Shapes: Abstract shapes are images used to convey short meaning or identity without the use of written language. Abstract shapes may be universal to all people or culturally base. Abstract shapes are those can be recognizable but are not ‘real’. Abstract shapes are stylized or simplified versions of natural shapes. Abstract shapes in design are usually added through images like sign, icons, logos, symbols and etc.
  17. 17. Form (Volume/ Mass/ Depth): In a 2 dimensional shape if we create illusion of 3 dimensions then we get a volume also known as mass that is depth. The depth can be created in a design with the help of shadow or by adding pattern and texture to the surface or by changing the colour across the surface to imitate the effect of light and shadow.Since, the world is made with 3 dimensional when we add amount or degree of qualities to the 2 dimensional to add a sense of realism to a design. If we overlap a flat surface on top of a volume it creates tension between the foreground and background to create depth.
  18. 18. Space: Space in design refers to the distance or area between two shapes or forms found within a composition. There are two types of space in design, they are positive and negative space. Both positive and negative spaces are important factors to be considered in every good composition.They appear in both two-dimension and three-dimension design and complement to one another.
  19. 19. Positive space: · Positive space is the ‘occupied’ areas in a design that is filled with design elements such as, lines, colours and shapes. It is the primary subject matter of a design; the animals, plants, building, mountain, people and etc., forms the area-of-interest. The positive space which dominates the eye is the focal point in a composition.
  20. 20. Negative space: · Negative space also known as ‘whitespace’ in design is the unoccupied areas that surround the subject matter. Negative space is the ‘empty space’ or unoccupied area that lies between objects, shapes and forms within a design. Negative space is important in a design because it gives balance to positive space by giving the eye a place to rest. Space is a basic element that is often overlooked as a principle of a good design.
  21. 21. Deep Space: · Deep Space: The illusion of three dimensional spaces in a design creates a sense of effectiveness in a design is referred as deep space. The deep space there are three terms used to describe depth: o Foreground is the area that visually appears close to the viewer in a design. Very often it appears in the lower plane or bottom of the design. o Middle ground is space that makes up the distance between the foreground and background of a design. o Background is the area of a painting that visually appears far away in the distance.
  22. 22. Texture: Texture is an element that we can touch and feel in a design. All shapes in the universal have texture. The texture can be divided into two parts; they are physical texture and visual texture. Physical Texture: Physical Texture is the texture that we can feel with our own hand. That is layout with roughness; mat finish, glossy finish, layering of collage and etc. are the examples of physical texture.
  23. 23. Visual Texture: · Visual Texture is the illusion of physical texture that is created with the help of materials used in the design. Design can be manipulated to give the impression of texture, while the support surface remains smooth and flat.
  24. 24. Pattern: Pattern is the repeating of visual element that can be created by duplicating size, shape, position, symmetry, frequency, value, and colour. All texture in the universal have a pattern. Patterns are usually stronger when combining two or more repeating elements. Pattern in visual arts is used for building larger objects, decoration,organization, association with other objects and meaning. When a unit is used for building a larger object, patterns are created. When the shape of the units is similar, the pattern becomes well defined. Patterns have cultural, religious, and philosophical significance. Many patterns have traditional meanings that symbolize the place of mankind in relation to nature and the universe. Natural icons are common in cultural patterns, such as rope, baskets and etc. are the patterned decorative of cultural imagery.
  25. 25. Colour: Colour is all around us and probably for that reason people don’t think much about it. But in design, the techniques of using colour are based on science. The concepts of colours are basically divided in primary and secondary colours, which are the fundamental of colour. The primary colours are Red, Green and Blue, which are considered as the foundation colours. Secondary colours are Cyan, Magenta and Yellow, which are created when equal amount of two primary colours are mixed together. Any pure colour is referred as Hue. When white colour is added to any pure colour, the colour is diluted and produces a tint, also known as pastels. When black colour is added to any pure colour, the colour produces shade. Brilliance and luminosity are terms used to describe the amount of black mixed with the colour to create the shade. Whenever a colour is mixing white or black, the colour loses saturation. That is pink colour is created by mixing red with white, technically the colour pink can be described as ‘a tint of red’ or ‘low-saturation red’.
  26. 26. Principles of Design: The principles of design are the tools used to create an effective design. The difference between a worst and a best design is completely depend on the designer's knowledge on the design principles and how he applies them. For example, every designers whether they realize it or not they are familiar with the elements of design. The principles of design are what the artist uses to create a composition. The basic principles of design are Balance, Movement, Repetition and Rhythm, Emphasis, Simplicity, Contrast, Proportion and Unity.
  27. 27. Balance: Consider we are purchasing two kilogram of vegetables in the local market. We will not buy the vegetables unless it is equally balanced with the two kilogram weight. Similarly, when creating a design, all the elements used in the design have to be equally balanced. As we physically balance the vegetables, the designer create an illusion of balance know as visual balance. In visual balance, each part of the design suggests certain visual weight or certain degree of lightness and heaviness. For example, light colours appear lighter in weight than dark colours. Bright colours visually weigh more than neutral colours in the same areas. To balance a design is to distribute its parts in such a way that the viewers are satisfied. When elements are balanced left and right of a central axis then they are horizontally balanced. When they are balanced above and below then they are vertically balanced and when the elements are distributed around the centre point or jump out from central line then they are radically balanced. The two basic forms of visual balance are ‘symmetrical balance’ (formal balance) and ‘asymmetrical balance’ (informal balance).
  28. 28. Symmetrical Balance: In a design, when the elements are equally distributed on both sides of the central axis then it is called as symmetrical balance. Symmetry is the simplest and most noticeable type of balance. It creates a secure, safe feeling and a sense of strength. Symmetrical balance can be achieved in two ways, one by ‘pure symmetry’ and another by ‘approximate symmetry’. · In ‘pure symmetry’, identical parts are equally distributed on either side of the central axis like mirror; a good example of pure symmetry is the human face that has same on both the right and left side of the nose. Similarly, in design the identical parts are equally distributed on either side of the central axis. However, pure symmetry of a design can easily become too monotonous and uninteresting to view. · In ‘approximate symmetry’, identical parts are not equally distributed on either side like pure symmetry. Even though the approximate symmetry of design is varied to some extent, they still similar enough to be symmetrically balance and have greater appeal and interest for the viewer.
  29. 29. Asymmetrical Balance: In a design, when the elements are not equally distributed on both sides of the central axis then it is called as asymmetrical balance. The asymmetry balance is not identical but still appears to be the same visual weight. The use of asymmetry in design allows more freedom of creativity. The basic way to use asymmetrical is by balancing two or more unequal components by varying in size, value or distance from the center.
  30. 30. Radial Balance: The third type of balance is radial balance, where all elements spread out from the center point in a circular fashion. It is very easy to maintain a focal point in radial balance, since all the elements lead our eye toward the center.
  31. 31. Movement: Movement is the path of our eyes following when we look at a design. The purpose of movement is to create unity in the design, which can be achieved by using repetition, rhythm and action. The Movement will fix the design together by relating various elements of the design.By arranging the design elements in certain way, the designer controls and forces the movement of the viewer's eyes from large elements to little elements, from dark elements to lighter elements, from colour to non colour, from unusual shapes to usual shapes and etc.Movement can be created by action. In design work, action must be understood, which creates life and activity within the design. For example, the action may be created by an arrow, a pointing finger, bouncing ball at midair, a runner about to take next step or a swimmer taking a dive and etc.
  32. 32. Repetition and Rhythm: The movement of repetition is create when the design elements have something in common and are repeated regularly or irregularly to create a visual rhythm. Repetition doesn't mean exact duplication, it mean similarity or nearer one. Actually, slight variations to a simple repetition will add interest and connect thing together, which is an easy way to achieve unity. Rhythm is the flow of repetition which leads the eye from one area to another. The movement can be produced by continuous or periodic or regular repetition, which may be slightly changed in size, colour, texture and value to unify various areas of design.
  33. 33. Emphasis: Emphasis is the importance given to a particular area of the design instead of jumbling the details in the design. When a design has no emphasis then nothing will be understood to the viewer. So the effective use of emphasis creates attention to important areas of the design. By placing emphasis on particular areas of the design creates interest which makes the eye to watch again and again. The basic way of creating emphasis is by deciding the center of interest. That is important point to be focused in the design. The center of interest may be the largest, brightest, darkest, or most complex part of the whole, or it may get special attention because it stands out for some other reason. At the same time not more than one element should compete to the primary attention. when several elements get equal importance then emphasis will not be created. It doesn’t matter what element is selected for emphasis but it should not spoil the importance of other elements too.
  34. 34. Simplicity: Simplicity in design is also known as visual economy or minimal design, which means omitting all the non- essential or un-important elements and details that doesn’t contribute much to the overall core design. Good design means keeping it simple. That means trimming down to the essential elements required to achieve the necessary design. Moderation and simplicity are the key factors of good design. At the same time there are no rules for using economy.
  35. 35. Contrast: Contrast in design occurs when two related elements are different that is greater the difference, greater the contrast. Contrast adds variety to the total design and creates unity. Contrast draws the viewer's eye into the design and helps to guide the viewer around the design work, which also adds visual interest. At the same time, the design requires certain amount of contrast, like too much of contrast create confusing and too little contrast in a design becomes bland, monotonous and uninteresting. The right amount of contrast keeps the viewer's participation in comparing the various elements of the design. For instance, the viewer will compare light and dark, wide lines and thin lines, light-weight forms and heavy forms, filled spaces and unfilled spaces, etc. of the design. The most common ways of creating contrast are by creating differences in size, shape, value, alignment, colour, direction, type, movement and texture.
  36. 36. Proportion Proportion is the comparative harmonious relationship between two or more elements in a design with respect to size, colour, quantity, degree, setting and etc. A relationship is created when two or more elements are put together in a design. This relationship is said to be harmonious when a correct or desirable relationship exists between the elements. This refers to the correct sizing and distribution of an element which creates good proportion.
  37. 37. Good proportion adds harmony and balance among the parts of a design as a whole. When the proportion is applied to a design, it is usually in the relationship of size. That is, the size of one element compared to the size of another related element. The comparison is made between the: · height, width and depth of one element to that of another · size of one area to the size of another area · size of one element to the size of another element · amount of space between two or more elements Proportion is usually not even noticed until something is out of proportion. When the relative sizes of two elements are out of balance, then it is said to be ‘out of proportion’. For example if a person has a head larger than their entire body, then we would say that they were out of proportion. There are several ways for achieving good proportion:
  38. 38. Unity: Unity is the ultimate of good design. Unity is the final result in a composition when all the design elements combine work cordially together making the viewer to feel pleasant, satisfying and comfortable of the design. The unity is achieved when all the design elements complement one another than compete for attention. Unity in a composition achieved when all of the design principles (balance, movement, emphasis, visual economy, contrast, proportion) are been correctly applied. All the design elements selected for design must complement the main theme and must serve some functional purpose within the design. Achieving unity in design are;
  39. 39. Similarity: Repeating colours, shapes, values, textures, or lines to create a visual relationship between the elements. Repetition works to unify all parts of a design because it creates a sense of consistency and completeness. Continuity: Treating different elements in the same manner. Continuity helps to create ‘family resemblances’ between different forms. This helps to tie them together by creating an uninterrupted connection or union. Alignment: Arranging shapes that lead into another shape helps to create unity in design. When an element is placed in a composition, it creates an indirect horizontal and vertical axis at its top, bottom, canter and sides. Proximity: Elements that are placed close to one another are supposed as related while the elements placed farther are considered as less related.