Elements Of Design Jace Thornley


a mark made by a tool as it is drawn across a surface

  • the tool can be almost anything – a pencil, a pointed brush, a computer and mouse, even a cotton swab
  • a line is defined as a moving dot or point, or can be called an open path
  • line can describe shape, so we can recognize objects
  • Implied Line: a line created by positioning a series of points so that your eye automatically connects them
  • Psychic Line: no real line, there is a mental connection between two elements
  • Horizontal Line: implies quiet and repose, tranquility
  • Vertical Line: has potential for activity or movement, also represents strength and nobility
  • Diagonal Line: suggests motion
  • Contour Line: a line that follows edges of forms, to describe outlines
  • Gesture Line: a line that shows action or dynamics of a pose
There is a psychic line formed by the "heart-eyes" of these two Youtubers, Dan and Phil (left). The shape of a leaf is seen in the gesture lines (right).


a visually perceived area created either by an enclosing line, or color or value changes defining the outer edge

  • can show “realism” or images as they are seen
  • can show “distortion” or have a purposeful exaggeration of what is seen
  • can show “idealism” or represent something as it “should” be in an ideal world
  • can show “abstraction” or a simplification of natural shapes to essential basic shapes

The TARDIS from Doctor Who is made up of basic rectangles and squares.

The anti-possession symbol (and no, this isn't a pentagram or devil worship) from Supernatural is in the shape of a circle, with lines and what looks like sun rays added in and around the circle.

The trees in this image differ little in color to that of the ground.


the description of lightness or darkness of a visual element

  • Value Contrast: the relationship of one element to another in respect to lightness and darkness
  • it helps identify the separate elements of a design
  • Low Contrast: uses a narrow range of values meaning there is not much difference in the lightness and darkness
  • High Contrast: uses a wide range of values or a huge difference in the lightness and darkness in a design
The bright, colorful background contrast greatly with the white table, chairs, and clothes in BTS's music video for Blood, sweat, and Tears.


the tactile quality of a surface or the representations of surface quality

  • Tactile Textures: real; we can actually feel them
  • Visual Textures: illusionary; they give the impression of real textures
  • Pattern: repetitive arrangement of elements can create texture
Dean Winchester's hair would feel very soft.
This pattern creates a sharp and rough texture, almost like a rock.


hue is the name of the color

  • Value: the range of lightness or darkness of a hue
  • Saturation: the brightness or dullness of a color
  • RGB stands for red, green, blue which are the three primary colors when working with light; all colors seen on a monitor or screen are created using the RGB model: red, green, and blue are additive primaries because when you mix equal amounts of red, green, and blue you create white light
  • CMYK stands for cyan, magenta, yellow, black which is used for offset printing or four-color process printing: cyan, magenta, and Yellow are subtractive primaries because when these are mixed they create black
  • Subtractive Primaries: deal with ink or pigment
  • Additive Primaries: deal with light
Melanie Martinez's hair has a blue hue that fades to purple near the end, and then to pink.
This photo of Taehyung from BTS is saturated.


  • the substrate or support for a graphic design
  • deals with size, shape, material, and purpose
  • Contextual Constraints: where and how the designs will be seen
  • e.g. magazines are seen up close, while billboards are seen while driving and at a distance
  • Budget: a contextual format
This is the band Twenty One Pilots, which consists of Josh Dun (left) and Tyler Joseph (right), on the cover of Rock Sound.
This is Dan and Phil (previously mentioned) in front of a billboard for their stage show TATINF (The Amazing Tour is Not On Fire).


  • created when you repeat some aspect of the design throughout the entire piece
  • any element can be repeated
  • i.e. font, line, bullet, color, design element, format, spatial relationships; anything the reader will visually recognize
This image consists of repeated black diamonds and white squares and triangles.
Honeycomb has a repeating hexagonal shape.


  • placing items on a page so they have a visual connection with something else on the page
  • when items are aligned it creates a stronger, cohesive unit
  • even when elements are physically separated from each other, if they are aligned there is an invisible line that connects them
  • alignment tells the reader that different elements belong together
Even though they aren't physically touching, it's obvious that Josh and Tyler are a group.
These two, Jin and Namjoon, are shown physically touching, and are stronger as a cohesive unit.


  • when you group related items together
  • group related items so the viewer sees them as one cohesive unit
  • items that are NOT related should not be close to other elements
this is the Musical group Fall Out Boy (from left to right: Joe, pete, Patrick, and Andy).

This is the K-Pop group BTS, grouped together because they're all musical artists.

Created By
jace thornley

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