Not the 3 basic elements of design that are taught at art or design school. But its kind of there. I'm discussing here the idea of lines, leading lines and negative space. Other elements include complimentary colours, shape, form (S-curve), and in photography -> lens flare, over exposing, underexposing, star filters, which are strictly speaking, classified under techniques rather than elements of design..
Lines. Lines, more specifically STRAIGHT lines, show evidence of man. Its our way of compartmentalising things. General shapes of farms? Squares or rectangles. Buildings/homes? Squares or rectangles. Rooms inside buildings, beds, cabinets, computer screens, mirrors, cellphones, keyboards, cameras, tables, knives and forks. General composition of square or rectangle, which began as a straight line.
Straight lines stand out. Because they're man. In nature, where lines occur - tigers, zebras, birds, quaggas, water streaks caused by rain, rivers, erosion caused by wind. All curved. You get the point.
It rarely occurs that straight lines occur in nature, such as in the picture I took at the top of this blog of the trees. So its a focal point.
Leading lines. These are lines that suggest a 3-D element to a 2D representation of something (a printed image or image on a PC screen - why is it 2D? Because there are 2 dimensions. Length and Breadth. So its up to the artist to give the illusion (where necessary) of a Leading Lines Effect (I'm sure I'm not the 1st one to term it this if you Google it) that kinda forces your eye to look further into the image. An example is in the picture of the curved road. Your eye wants to see whats at the end of the path. Its enhanced by the fact that there's the contrast of straight lines from the trees.
Then --> negative space. Negative space is used kind of often, often in paintings. Typically, its an empty space of "nothingness". Typically a constant shade of black/white/brown/blue, etc. Often, its pulled off quite badly. There can be a beautiful composition, of a beautiful subject; thats placed smack in the centre of something, and looks like its just floating there. There's nothing to ground it. In the picture above, its not strictly speaking negative space, but the grass area in context of the image could be classified as such.
Anyway. Think about it.