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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Elements of Design


Design Elements

What is a design element?

Design elements are the building blocks or basic units in the construction of a visual image. In your further reading you may find some minor differences in the terms used to identify the basic design elements - however, generally there are considered to be six elements of design:

      line      shape      colour      value      texture      format

What is a design principle?

A design principle is the process of putting together the elements in a visually stimulating way. Once again, in your further reading you may find some minor differences in the terms or language used to define a design principle - however, for our purposes here we will agree there are four major principles of design:

 balance  emphasis  rhythm  unity

How we, as commercial designers arrange, combine and apply the elements and principles of design determines how the graphic space is manipulated to achieve the most effective communication solution for our clients' particular communication problem.

The Design Elements

Line is considered to be the most basic element of visual design. It can be defined as a mark made by a tool as it is drawn across a surface. It is sometimes defined as a series of moving points and thereby making the "point" the original design element. It can also be called an open path. Look closely at the examples below for a further explanation of this design element.

THE DESIGN ELEMENTS
POINT & LINE ELEMENTS
Shape can be defined as a closed form or closed path - the general outline of something. Lines are probably the most common way of creating shapes and we might use colour, tone or texture to fill the shape. This method of describing shapes is called linear. Other ways shapes can be formed without using line is through the use of coloured areas and making use of collage techniques.

FORMING SHAPE ELEMENTS

The Design Principles

Balance. Every visual design can be said to have a visual weight. Balance is the equal distribution of that visual weight. When a design feels balanced we tend to feel it is harmonious or holds together. If a design is unbalanced we may feel uncomfortable, tension has been created.

To make effective use of balance as a design principle you need to consider weight, position and arrangement of the design elements you have chosen.

Whether you choose symmetry or asymmetry to achieve balance in your design will depend on the subject matter, the message and feelings you intend to convey.

SYMMETRY VS ASYMMETRY
COMPONENTS POSITIONING


Emphasis is used to direct the viewer through visual information - some formats require more visual guidance than others. Emphasis is the idea that some things are more important than others and important things should be noticed.

DESIGN EMPHASIS
HERO SHOTS
There are many ways to make something a focal point but remember that if you try to give every element some emphasis you will have given it to none of them. The position, size, shape, direction, hue, value, saturation or texture of a component can make it the focal point.


Line:

This is a mark that is made on a surface. Lines are the first element of art and are continuous marks that are made on any surface with a moving point. A line can to used to express various things or feelings; it can be used to show various moods or anything abstract. Lines can be used in various ways to create different compositions. A horizontal or a vertical line can be used to express various things in different ways, such as, only vertical lines can be used to express an orderly feeling where are only horizontal lines can give a feeling of peace and stillness. Diagonal lines are used to create feelings of movement. It is up to the artist how he/she conveys it, in the best way possible through the use of lines. (A ship sailing a stormy sea will need diagonal lines to represent movement.)


Shape:

A shape always has two dimensions, length as well as width. This is represented as an enclosed area that is defined by colour, value, space, texture and form. When lines form together, they form shapes. Shapes can be geometrical, rectangles, ovals and squares.


Form:

A form always has three dimensions; length, width and height. Examples of such would be cubes, pyramids, spheres or even cylinders. Therefore, form has depth as well as height. Sculptures and decorative arts serve as good examples for form.


Value:

The value refers to the changes in the base colour. This is also determined by how much light is reflected or absorbed by any surface. Values mean the various intensities of the tones or colours. This could be the highlights, midtones or even shadows in any painting or sculpture.


Texture:

The texture is the quality of a surface or the way any work of art is represented. There are three kinds of basic textures, actual, simulated and the invented texture. Lines and shading can be used to create different textures as well. For example, if one is portraying certain fabrics, one needs to give the feeling of the right texture so that it closely resembles what the artist is trying to convey.


Colour:

Color always has three characteristics, which are hue, value and the intensity. Hue means the shades (Red, yellow or pink), value refers to the lightness or the darkness and intensity refers to the brightness or dullness of the work of art.


Space:

Space is the creation of visual perspective; this gives the illusion of depth. Space can also mean the way an artist uses the area within the picture plane. Real space is actually three-dimensional. The way any artist uses the combination of positive and negative space can have a great effect on his/her entire composition. The right use of space can go a long way in creating a bigger impact with even minimum use of lines. Three-dimensional space can be created with the help of shading and perspective to give a feeling of depth.

Elements and principles of design also need to go hand in hand. Principles of design are used to organize the structural elements of design. The elements of art should be used in the right proportion to create any great work of art.

What is Rhythm in Design:

Rhythm in design is also called repetition. Rhythm allows your designs to develop an internal consistency that makes it easier for your customers to understand. Once the brain recognizes the pattern in the rhythm it can relax and understand the whole design. Repetition rarely occurs on its own and so it embues a sense of order onto the design. And because of this, repetition attracts attention and prompts customers to investigate further.

What is Unity in Design:

Classic design theory discusses unity in terms of the objects present in a piece of art. Regarded in this way, unity discusses the need to tie the various elements of a work of art together. Unity is a measure of how the elements of a page seem to fit together - to belong together. A unified work of art represents first a whole, then the sum of its parts.


Find an example from a magazine which incorporates as many Design Elements as possible.


DESIGN ELEMENTS EXAMPLES

EXAMPLES OF DESIGN ELEMENTS EXAMPLES


Create a 16 page mini booklet

16 PAGE MINI BOOKLET SKETCH
16 PAGE MINI BOOKLET 

INDESIGN – turn it electronic:




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