Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Principles of Design

In the last post we discussed the elements of design.  Now we are going to look at how these elements relate to the principles of design.

The elements of design (line, shape, color, texture and value) are the building blocks of all visual art and design.  The Principles of Design are how we arrange and/or organize these elements. 

These principles are:

rhythm-  Often the term rhythm is used to describe visual art and design.  A Visual Rhythm can be created in a variety of ways.  Often this is done through repetition and the type of lines, shapes and colors that are used.  balance-  Balance refers to how the elements within a composition are organized.  Here we often think about Symmetrical Balance and Approximate Symmetry.    harmony/ unity- All of the elements of a design relate and complement one another.  dominance/ emphasis-  Both Dominance and Emphasis show a certain element within a composition having more visual weight.  We can think about this as a sense of Visual Hierarchy.    variety- We can say that variety is often what makes a design interesting.  Variety presents differences between the elements that appear in a composition.  For instance when we look at a composition based on repetition, often there are additional elements that break up the repetition to create visual interest.  scale/proportion- Scale often refers to the sizes of the elements that are found within a composition.  Scale and Proportion refers to how the sizes of the elements within a composition relate to one another.  direction- When we see the principle of direction, we see the elements being used to create a visual direction within a composition. 
repetition- We see repetition quite often in pattern design.  In Repetition an element in a composition is repeated.  

  What principles do you see at work in this photograph?   We see repetition, in the repeating green leaves.  We see direction in the organic green shapes, visually leading our eyes through the composition.  The brown part of this plant presents variety in this composition. 

In the next photograph we see the use of type against a painted brown brick background.  The order of the type presents a sense of balance.  The use of color create a visual sense of harmony and unity.  Maybe we could say that the numbers, 1609 dominate this composition, creating emphasis.  

In this piece we clearly see repetition.  Variety of shape is found in this composition to create a sense of visual interest.  We see the shape of metal heater being the dominate shape at work. 

What elements do you see at work in the next image?  Quite often we see all of the principles working in one way or another. 

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