Elements of Design melody arteaga


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. Also, 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.
This photograph of the birds is an example of implied line, because the birds imply that there is a line by the way that they are formed.
The drawing is an example of gesture line because the way the person is draw makes it seem like it is in action.


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

  • Shapes can show “realism” or images as they are seen.
  • Shapes can show “distortion” or have a purposeful exaggeration of what is seen.
  • Shapes can show “idealism” or represent something as it “should” be in an ideal world.
  • Shapes can show “abstraction” or a simplification of natural shapes to essential basic shapes.
This picture is an example of shape "realism" because the various triangles form together to create the Statue of Liberty
The United Kingdom flag uses abstraction to create the design of the flag.


The description of lightness or darkness of a visual element.

  • Value Contrast is the relationship of one element to another in respect to lightness and darkness.
  • Value Contrast 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.
This drawing is an example of high contrast because the colors range from light to dark color.
This photograph is an example of value contarst because the Eiffel Tower is shaded lighter than the sky.


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

  • Tactile Textures are real. We can actually feel them.
  • Visual Textures are illusionary. They give the impression of real textures.
  • Pattern or the repetitive arrangement of elements can create texture.
This photograph is an example of tactile texture. This is a picture of rope and can show the texture that often comes when touching or looking at rope.
This drawing is an example of visual texture because the way the fur is drawn gives the illusion of real animal fur.


  • Hue is the name of the color. Example: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black.
  • Value is the range of lightness or darkness of a hue. Example: Light Blue, Dark Blue.
  • Saturation is 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.
  • CMYK stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black which is used for offset printing or four-color process printing.
  • Subtractive Primaries deal with ink or pigment while Additive Primaries deals with light.
This painting is an example of CMYK because of the colors used to paint the neighborhood.
This photograph of grapes is an example of saturation. The grapes in the front have a dull color, whereas the grapes in the back have bright colors.


The substrate or support for a graphic design.

  • Format deals with size, shape, material, and purpose.
  • Contextual Constraints can be where and how the designs will be seen
  • Budget is also a contextual format
The format of this advertisement is made to fit the shape and size of the bus, so that people can see it from afar.
This Pepsi advertisement is enlarged to be put on a billboard. It has to be enlarged so that people driving by can see what is being advertised.



Created when two elements are very different.

  • Size - Use various sized elements to create contrast
  • Color - Complementary colors are easy ways to create contrast. Use colors that are very different from each other.
  • Shape - Use different shapes to create contrast
The FedEx logo uses color contrast. They use two unlike colors to create contrast.
This poster also uses color contrast to catch the attention of the viewer and to create contrast for the poster.


Created when you repeat some aspect of the design throughout the entire piece.

Any element can be repeated....

  • Font
  • Line
  • Bullet
  • Color
  • Design Element
  • Format
  • Spatial Relationships
  • Anything the reader will visually recognize
The Olympics logo is a n example of design repetition. The logo repeats the circle shape five times.
Pop art often uses repetition. In this example Marilyn Monroe is painted in different colors but her face is repeated multiple times.


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.
The blocks around the letters are all aligned to provide a sense of unity.
The author's name and the title of the book are aligned to make those parts seem like the are meant to be together.


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.
Without proximity, the lines in the Adidas logo would be all over the place. However with proximity they are placed perfectly above the brands name.
This photograph shows how the proximity of the crayons can create a color wheel in the middle.

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.