Elements of design by joseph crenshaw

The Elements of Good Graphic Design are the components or parts of a work of art or design. More simply put, they are the ingredients of art.

this image is using contour lines to make it have a worm like shape.


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 picture is a good example of how one line can twist and turn to create an object.
the lightning is an example of a gesture line because it suggest movement.


Shape: 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

the foundation of every art work starts with shapes


Value: 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.

the picture is using value to create a shadowey look on the skeleton.


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.

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 while Additive Primaries deals with light.

the colors make the picture seem more real.


Format: 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.

Magazines are seen up close

Billboards are seen while driving and at a distance

Budget is also a contextual format


Contrast is created when two elements are very different.

Types of Contrast

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 contrast is brought down to make the picture look darker.


Repetition is 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 picture is reapeated throughout the page


Alignment is 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.

see in the picture the defined lines between the Doors


Proximity is 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.

notice how the picture is entirely made out of triangles


Created with images by werner22brigitte - "smoke background artwork"

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