Archive for the ‘Elements of Design’ Category


September 3, 2011


The elements of design are the basic tools necessary to organize a visual image. Understanding these elements will aid in creating a more successful “visual communication” composition.

Most visual compositions or designs are created using the elements of design. These elements are the building blocks of all designs and build upon one another to convey an image. The basic elements of a design include line, shape, color, texture, value, and size.


A line is a mark with a greater length than width. Lines can be diagonal, horizontal or vertical, straight or curved, thick or thin. Lines can be used to create perspective and a sense of continuance in a composition and can aid in the readability, appearance, and message of a design. In addition, lines that are grouped together may create value, density or texture.


A shape is a defined area created by a closed line or by differences in color, value or texture. Alone or in combination with other shapes or lines they can guide the eye or organize information. Shape can be thought of as either two-dimensional or three-dimensional. Two-dimensional forms have width and height and can create the illusion of three dimension objects, Three-dimensional shape also has depth along with width and height. Shapes can be geometric, such as circles, triangles or squares, or they can be organic with asymmetrical or irregular outlines.


Color is the response of the eye to light reflecting off objects or surfaces. Color can be characterized by it’s hue, value, and saturation. When used in design, contrasting color draws attention to a particular part of an image or can be used to add dimension that can evoke moods and make powerful statements. Colors are categorized as primary, secondary, or tertiary colors.


The surface quality of a shape conveys texture in a design. There two types of texture: tactile and implied. Tactile texture is the way the surface of an object actually feels. Implied texture is the way the surface on an object looks like it feels. Texture is always a part of design whether or not it is intentional and can be soft or hard, smooth or rough.


Value, also referred to as tone, is present in all design. It is the lightness or darkness of an object, regardless of color. It gives objects depth and perception. Value is uses in a design to increase or decrease contrast, create movement, and to lead the eye.


Each design is created at a particular size, or mass. Additionally, each element of the design (line, shape, etc) has it’s own mass which is relative to the design as a whole. Different size elements are often used to accommodate information, convey a mood or provide emphasis, and to create contrast within a design.



September 3, 2011

QUICK STUDY: Elements of Design

Line: Dominant Horizontal, Dominant Vertical, Dominant Diagonal, Line Quality

Texture: Hard, Soft, Extreme, etc.

Color: Hue, Value, Tint, Shade, Intensity, Saturation, Warm Color Palette, Cool Color Palette

Value: Value Contrast, High Contrast, Low Contrast, Etc.

Shape: Attributes of a Closed Form

Format: Sizes, Shapes, Media, Open Format, Closed Format