Elements & Principles of Art and Design

Composition in art can be looked at like a recipe.  The elements (ingredients) are mixed according to the principles (directions) to create a unified, unique composition.

Composition: The organizing of all the elements of a work of art into a harmoniously unified whole.  Watch element has its own characteristics, but must function in such a way that the whole is more important than its parts.

 The visual elements of art are:

 line, colour, form, space, shape, texture, value, and tone.

Line: an element of art and design that pertains to the narrow mark or path of a moving point on a surface.

Colour: an element of art and design that pertains to a particular hue. One or any mixture of pigments seen when light is reflected off a surface.

Form: an element of art and design that pertains to an actual or implied 3-D shape of an object or image. In a broader sense, form refers to the total physical characteristics of an object, event or situation.

Shape: an element of art and design that pertains to an area set off by one or more of the other elements of art and design.

Space: an element of art and design that pertains to the real or illusory 3-D expanse in which an image or components of an image exist or appear to exist.

Texture: an element of art and design that pertains to the way something feels by representation of the tactile character of surfaces.

Value: an element of art and design that pertains to the degree of lightness and darkness, attributed to colour and related to one or more parts in a work of art.

Tone: an element of art and design that pertains to the effect of lightness and darkness in relation to one or more parts of a work of art.

 The principles of design include:

 balance, contrast, emphasis, movement/rhythm, pattern/repetition, and unity/harmony.

Balance: a principle of art and design concerned with the arrangement of one or more elements in a work of art so that they appear symmetrical or asymmetrical in design and proportion.

Contrast: a principle of art and design concerned with juxtaposing one or more elements in opposition, so as to show their differences.

Emphasis: a principle of art and design concerned with making one or more elements in a work of art stand out in such a way as to appear more important or significant.

Movement: a principle of art and design concerned with creating a distinctive structure that shows a feeling of action or a series of actions and guides a viewer’s eye through a work of art.

Rhythm: a principle of art and design concerned with the employment of repeated movement in regular or irregular succession of one or more elements to make a work seem active or to suggest repetition.

Pattern: a principle of art and design concerned with repetition in a work of art of one or more elements on a planned grid.

Repetition: a principle of art and design concerned with one or more of the elements in a work of art being repeated again.

Harmony: a principle of art and design concerned with the blending of one or more of the elements in a work of art to create a pleasing effect, balance, symmetry, and a composed appearance.

Unity: a principle of art and design concerned with the arrangement of one or more of the elements used to create a coherence of parts and a feeling of completeness or wholeness.