The 9 Principles of Design!

Let’s talk about The Principles of Design - the principles of design describe the ways that artists/designers use the elements in their work effectively. Over the next few weeks we are going to break down Principles in depth, giving you insight into exactly what they are, while delving into how you can use these effectively in your work. 

Balance is the distribution of the visual weight of objects, colours, texture, and space. If the design was a scale, these elements should be balanced to make a design feel stable. In symmetrical balance, the elements used on one side of the design are similar to those on the other side; in asymmetrical balance, the sides are different but still look balanced. In radial balance, the elements are arranged around a central point and may be similar.

Emphasis is the part of the design that catches the viewer’s attention. Usually the artist will make one area stand out by contrasting it with other areas. The area could be different in size, colour, texture, shape, etc. It’s the place we look first, the part of the image that the artist/designer wants to direct the viewer’s eyes to. 

Movement is the path the viewer’s eye takes through the work of art, often to focal areas. Such movement can be directed along lines, edges, shape, and colour within the work. How our eyes are directed through a combination of elements creates a sense of purposeful direction to emphasise parts of a composition. Rhythm can be regular, alternating, random or progressively building.

Pattern is the repeating of an object or symbol all over the work of art. Repetition of line, shape, colour and/or texture can unify your work.

Repetition works with pattern to make the work seem active. The repetition of elements of design creates unity within the work of art. 

Proportion is the feeling of unity created when all parts (sizes, amounts, or number) relate well with each other. When drawing the human figure, proportion can refer to the size of the head compared to the rest of the body.

Rhythm is created when one or more elements of design are used repeatedly to create a feeling of organized movement. Rhythm creates a mood like music or dancing. To keep rhythm exciting and active, variety is essential.

Variety is the use of several elements of design to hold the viewer’s attention and to guide the viewer’s eye through and around the work. It adds interest and visual dynamism and can be created through combining diverse elements. The more variety, the more active and potentially chaotic the composition! So, don’t go too crazy…

Unity is the feeling of harmony between all parts of the work of art, which creates a sense of completeness.

Stay tuned, next week we are going to be looking more closely at the balance of design! Happy designing, folks!

Posted 2 years ago

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