Elements and Principles of Design Jade Parker



Colour originates from a light source, it can be viewed directly as light or can be reflected light. There is no colour without light. Colour can convey a message it can also change or emphasize the meaning of a word or image. The meanings of colour and the emotions conveyed vary according to culture.


Line is one of the most fundamental elements of design. Line is the starting place for most artistic creation, most designs begin with line. A line is a path of a dot, point etc. through space and always has more length than thickness. Lines and curves are marks that span a distance between two points. As an element of visual art it is the use of various marks.


Shape is a two dimensional area confined by an actual line or implied line. In drawing, shapes are created when the end of lines are joined to enclose an area


Value is used in the language of art to refer to the "value" of light. The more light, the higher the value. White is the highest or lightest value and black is the lowest or darkest value.


Form is similar to shape. The difference is that form is used in art work that has three dimensions instead of as two shapes. The three dimensions are length, width and depth


Space refers to the area within, around and above or below an object or objects. It's important to creating and understanding two dimensional and three dimensional works of art. With three dimensional art, the space is occupied by the space around the object. Meanwhile two dimensional art exists on a flat surface

Texture: Texture refers to the surface quality in a work of art. We associate texture with the way how things look or feel. Some things feel as they appear. Texture is created to look like something it isn't, that is called visual or implied texture



Balance is the distribution of the visual weights of an object, colour, texture and space. If the design was a scale, these elements should be balanced to make the design feel stable


Hierarchy is an organisation of items into different levels of relative importance. Visual hierarchy is naturally enough creating this organisation and prioritisation visually.


Scale and proportion in art are both concerned with size. Scale refers to the size of an object in relationship to another object.


Emphasis is defined as an area or object within the artwork that draws attention and becomes a focal point. Subordination is minimising or toning down other compositional elements in order to bring attention to the focal point


Contrast refers to the arrangement of opposite elements (light and dark colours, rough and smooth textures, large and small shapes) in a piece to create visual interest


Pattern is repeating visual elements such as line, colour, shape, value or image tends to unify the total effect of art as well as create rhythm

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Jade Parker

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