Principles Of Design

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by ikky, Apr 9, 2008.

  1. ikky

    ikky Senior Member

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    What do you list as the elements of design? What do you list as the principles of design? Think you have it all figured out? Even textbooks do not agree - web sites do not agree.

    SO WHAT ARE THEY?
    The elements and principles of design are the building blocks used to create a work of art. The Elements of design can be thought of as the things that make up a painting, drawing, design etc. Good or bad - all paintings will contain most of if not all, the seven elements of design.

    The Principles of design can be thought of as what we do to the elements of design. How we apply the Principles of design determines how successful we are in creating a work of art.

    LIST THE PRINCIPLES AND THEIR MEANINGS:

    BALANCE
    Balance is an equilibrium that results from looking at images and judging them against our ideas of physical structure (such as mass, gravity or the sides of a page). It is the arrangement of the objects in a given design as it relates to their visual weight within a composition. Balance usually comes in two forms: symmetrical and asymmetrical.

    SYMMETRICAL
    Symmetrical balance occurs when the weight of a composition is evenly distributed around a central vertical or horizontal axis. Under normal circumstances it assumes identical forms on both sides of the axis. When symmetry occurs with similar, but not identical, forms it is called approximate symmetry. In addition, it is possible to build a composition equally around a central point resulting in radial symmetry1. Symmetrical balance is also known as formal balance.

    ASYMMETRICAL
    Asymmetrical balance occurs when the weight of a composition is not evenly distributed around a central axis. It involves the arranging of objects of differing size in a composition such that they balance one another with their respective visual weights. Often there is one dominant form that is offset by many smaller forms. In general, asymmetrical compositions tend to have a greater sense of visual tension. Asymmetrical balance is also known as informal balance.
    [​IMG]

    RHYTHM
    Rhythm is the repetition or alternation of elements, often with defined intervals between them. Rhythm can create a sense of movement, and can establish pattern and texture. There are many different kinds of rhythm, often defined by the feeling it evokes when looking at it.

    Regular: A regular rhythm occurs when the intervals between the elements, and often the elements themselves, are similar in size or length.

    Flowing: A flowing rhythm gives a sense of movement, and is often more organic in nature.

    Progressive: A progressive rhythm shows a sequence of forms through a progression of steps.
    [​IMG]

    PROPOTRION
    Proportion is the comparison of dimensions or distribution of forms. It is the relationship in scale between one element and another, or between a whole object and one of its parts. Differing proportions within a composition can relate to different kinds of balance or symmetry, and can help establish visual weight and depth. In the below examples, notice how the smaller elements seem to recede into the background while the larger elements come to the front.
    [​IMG]

    DOMINANCE
    Dominance relates to varying degrees of emphasis in design. It determines the visual weight of a composition, establishes space and perspective, and often resolves where the eye goes first when looking at a design. There are three stages of dominance, each relating to the weight of a particular object within a composition.

    Dominant: The object given the most visual weight, the element of primary emphasis that advances to the foreground in the composition.

    Sub-dominant: The element of secondary emphasis, the elements in the middle ground of the composition.

    Subordinate: The object given the least visual weight, the element of tertiary emphasis that recedes to the background of the composition.

    In the below example, the trees act as the dominant element, the house and hills as the secondary element, and the mountains as the tertiary element.
    [​IMG]

    UNITY
    The concept of unity describes the relationship between the individual parts and the whole of a composition. It investigates the aspects of a given design that are necessary to tie the composition together, to give it a sense of wholeness, or to break it apart and give it a sense of variety. Unity in design is a concept that stems from some of the Gestalt theories of visual perception and psychology, specifically those dealing with how the human brain organizes visual information into categories, or groups2.

    Gestalt theory itself is rather lengthy and complex, dealing in various levels of abstraction and generalization, but some of the basic ideas that come out of this kind of thinking are more universal.

    Closure
    Closure is the idea that the brain tends to fill in missing information when it perceives an object is missing some of its pieces. Objects can be deconstructed into groups of smaller parts, and when some of these parts are missing the brain tends to add information about an object to achieve closure. In the below examples, we compulsively fill in the missing information to create shape.
    [​IMG]

    Continuance
    Continuance is the idea that once you begin looking in one direction, you will continue to do so until something more significant catches your attention. Perspective, or the use of dominant directional lines, tends to successfully direct the viewers eye in a given direction. In addition, the eye direction of any subjects in the design itself can cause a similar effect. In the below example, the eye immediately goes down the direction of the road ending up in the upper right corner of the frame of reference. There is no other dominant object to catch and redirect the attention.
    [​IMG]

    SIMILARITY,PROXIMITY & ALIGNMENT
    Items of similar size, shape and color tend to be grouped together by the brain, and a semantic relationship between the items is formed. In addition, items in close proximity to or aligned with one another tend to be grouped in a similar way. In the below example, notice how much easier it is to group and define the shape of the objects in the upper left than the lower right.
    [​IMG]

    RELATED CONCEPTS
    There are many additional concepts that are related to the principles of design. These can include specific terms and/or techniques that are in some way based on one or more of the above tenets. In they end, they add to the collection of compositional tools available for use by the designer.

    Contrast or Opposition
    Contrast addresses the notion of dynamic tensionÔthe degree of conflict that exists within a given design between the visual elements in the composition.

    Positive and Negative Space
    Positive and negative space refers to the juxtaposition of figure and ground in a composition. The objects in the environment represent the positive space, and the environment itself is the negative space.

    Rule of Thirds
    The rule of thirds is a compositional tool that makes use of the notion that the most interesting compositions are those in which the primary element is off center. Basically, take any frame of reference and divide it into thirds placing the elements of the composition on the lines in between.

    Visual Center
    The visual center of any page is just slightly above and to the right of the actual (mathematical) center. This tends to be the natural placement of visual focus, and is also sometimes referred to as museum height.

    Color and Typography
    Many would place color and typography along side the five principals I have outlined above.







    I STUDIED MOST OF THIS FOR 2 YEARS, ITS A GOOD THING TO KNOW WHEN MAKING ART OR GIVING C&C.
    information from:
    http://www.digital-web.com/articles/
    <3 ikky

    Info on THE ELEMENTS OF DESIGN here: http://www.gamerenders.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=375636
     
  2. ikky

    ikky Senior Member

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    Thought this might be of use to some people, prehaps its worthy of a pin?
     
  3. ikky

    ikky Senior Member

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    What do you list as the elements of design? What do you list as the principles of design? Think you have it all figured out? Even textbooks do not agree - web sites do not agree.

    SO WHAT ARE THEY?
    The elements and principles of design are the building blocks used to create a work of art. The Elements of design can be thought of as the things that make up a painting, drawing, design etc. Good or bad - all paintings will contain most of if not all, the seven elements of design.

    The Principles of design can be thought of as what we do to the elements of design. How we apply the Principles of design determines how successful we are in creating a work of art.

    LIST THE ELEMENTS AND THIER MEANING
    POINT
    A point is an element that has position, but no extension. It is a single mark in space with a precise, but limited, location. Alone it can provide a powerful relation between negative and positive space, but when grouped with other points the Gestalt grouping principal of closure tends to kick in and the brain compulsively connects the points together. Line or form is a natural result of multiple points in space.
    [​IMG]

    LINE
    A line is an element characterized by length and direction. Lines create contours and form, and are often used to convey a specific kind of feeling or point to an important feature in a design. Lines are also used to create perspective, and dominant directional lines are often adopted to create a sense of continuance in a composition. In addition, lines that are grouped together often create a sense of value, density or texture.
    [​IMG]

    SHAPE (FORM)
    The simplest definition of shape is a closed contour, an element defined by its perimeter. The three basic shapes are: circle, rectangle (square) and triangle. Form is the shape and structure of a dimensional element within a given composition. Form can be both two-dimensional and three-dimensional and can be realistic, abstract or somewhere in between. The terms form and shape are often used synonymously, which is why they are both included here. In reality, form is derived from the combination of point, line and shape.
    [​IMG]

    TEXTURE
    Texture is used to create surface appearance, and relates to the physical make-up of a given form. Texture often refers to the material that something is made of, and can be created using any of the elements previously discussed. Texture is both a visual and a tactile phenomenon.
    [​IMG]
    ^^^rought and organic texture ^^^

    COLOUR
    Color is the response of the eye to differing wavelengths of radiation within the visible spectrum. The visible spectrum is what we perceive as light. It is the part of the electromagnetic spectrum that we can see. The typical human eye will respond to wavelengths between 400-700 nanometers (nm), with red being at one end (700 nm), violet at the other (400 nm) and every other color in between these two.

    There are many different kinds of color systems, and many different theories on color. We will get into that kind of detail in a later column. For now we will focus on the basics, using a color wheel for illustration purposes. There are three main components of color:

    Hue: Where the color is positioned on the color wheel. Terms such as red, blue-green, and mauve all define the hue of a given color.

    Value: The general lightness or darkness of a color. In general, how close to black or white a given color is.

    Saturation: The intensity, or level of chroma, of a color. The more gray a color has in it, the less chroma it has.
    [​IMG]

    COLOUR HARMONIES
    Color harmonies serve to describe the relationships certain colors have to one another, and how they can be combined to create a palette of color.

    Complementary: A complementary relationship is a harmony of two colors on the opposite side of the color wheel. When complementary colors are placed side-by-side they tend to enhance the intensity (chroma) of each other, and when they are blended together they tend to decrease the intensity of each other.

    Analogous: An analogous relationship is a harmony of colors whose hues are adjacent to one another on the color wheel. Analogous colors tend to be families of colors such as blues (blue, blue-violet, blue-green) and yellows (yellow, yellow-orange, yellow-green).

    Triadic: A triadic relationship is a harmony of three colors equidistant from one another on the color wheel. Primary colors and secondary colors are examples of color triads.

    In these examples, a subtractive color space was used for illustrative purposes.
    [​IMG]

    COLOUR SPACES:
    Color is typically organized in a hierarchal fashion, based on how colors are mixed. A color space helps to define how the colors are mixed, based on the medium in which the colors are used. There are two different kinds of color spaces:

    Subtractive: A subtractive color space is the traditional color space that most people refer to when they talk about color. It is pigment-based color, as in the mixing of paint. In a subtractive color space, the pigments manipulate the wavelengths that our eyes see. The absence of any pigment produces white, and all pigments blended together produces black.
    Primary colors: Red, yellow, blue
    Secondary colors: Orange, green, violet

    Additive: An additive color space is an electronic color space. It is light-based color, as in the mixing of color on the computer. In an additive color space, light is added to the screen in differing amounts to produce color. The absence of any light is black, the presence of all light, or light at full intensity, is white.
    Primary colors: Red, green, blue
    Secondary colors: Yellow, magenta, cyan
    [​IMG]

    TYPOGRAPHY
    Typography is the art of arranging typefaces, selecting style, line spacing, layout and design as a means of solidifying language. There are many facets to typography, and only a brief investigation will be started here based around some common terms.

    Baseline: The line on which all letters rest.
    Beardline: The line reached by the descenders of lowercase letters.
    Bowl: The round or elliptical parts of a letterform.
    Cap line: The line reached by the top of uppercase letters.
    Counter: The white space enclosed by a letterform, whether completely or partially.
    Extenders: Extenders are the parts of letters that extend either below the baseline (descenders) or above the midline (ascenders).
    Midline: The top of lowercase letters such as a, c, e and the top of the torso of lowercase letters such as b, d.
    Serif: A stroke added to either the beginning or end of one of the main strokes of a letter.
    Stem: The main stroke of a letter that is generally straight and not part of a bowl.
    Topline: The line reached by the ascenders of lowercase letters.
    X-height: The distance between the baseline and midline of an alphabet. The x-height is usually the height of the unextended lowercase letters.
    [​IMG]

    PATTERN
    Pattern is the repetition of shape or form. It can also reflect the underlying structure of a design by organizing the surfaces or objects in the composition. There are many different kinds of patterns:

    Flowing: A flowing pattern is based on the repetition of an undulating line, and reflects a natural meandering through a composition.
    Branching: A branching pattern is the repetition of forking lines, or patterns of deviation. These kinds of patterns can be found in almost all plants, and in many other places in the natural world.
    Spiraling: A circular pattern, or a pattern that winds in and around itself.

    MOVEMENT
    Movement can be defined as motion of objects in space over time, and is often described in one of two ways:

    Literal: Literal movement is physical movement. Examples of literal movement include: Products such as the automobile, motion pictures and dance.
    Compositional: Compositional movement is the movement of the viewer’s eye through a given composition. Compositional movement can be either static or dynamic. Static movement jumps between isolated parts of a composition. Dynamic movement flows smoothly from one part of the composition to another.









    I STUDIED MOST OF THIS FOR TWO YEARS, AND IT IS HELPFUL TO KNOW WHEN YOU DESIGN AND OR GIVE C&C.
    Information and image from:
    http://www.digital-web.com/articles/
    <3 ikky.

    Info on the PRINCIPLES OF DESIGN here: http://www.gamerenders.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=375635
     
  4. th3drag0n

    th3drag0n Well-Known Member

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    nice pointers indeed,
    thanks for the time :)
     
  5. kryzzie

    kryzzie Well-Known Member

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    Omg that is so detailed! It's very useful and neat. Helps to see the "bigger picture" clearly when you put it like that and then start working the design in my head (like what i'm doing now xD)
     
  6. kryzzie

    kryzzie Well-Known Member

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    OMG it's like studying the theory of design! Are u a ----- designer? ^.^ I agree that this is pin-worthy. This is extremely impt. for designs esp. proportion (imo).
     
  7. ikky

    ikky Senior Member

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    Hehe. Glad you guys like it, whilst i did write it myself its snippits from another site. It is a basic intro into the things you would study anywhere in any art subject around the world. However ofcourse they vary country to country.

    Enjoy, prehaps this is worthy of a pin. Even if the hosted images go down, the link is there so if im not here you can save and rehost them.
     
  8. ikky

    ikky Senior Member

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    No, im just a random guy who loves art, and these brush all catagories and basically will help anyone hit the ground running should they choose to study design or really any art subject that requires you to not only create your own work, but give C&C and or write in an analytical style.

    Thanx for reading and replying.

    Enjoy.
     
  9. Strata Design

    Strata Design Well-Known Member

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    This is really useful. Thanks a lot. :D
     
  10. Strata Design

    Strata Design Well-Known Member

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    Still, just wow. This is really informative.
     
  11. ikky

    ikky Senior Member

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    Lol, yup.

    Hope this helps alot of people get a better understanding when analysing ( giving C&C even ) and recieving C&C.
     
  12. ikky

    ikky Senior Member

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    Most welcome.
     
  13. [.BC.] huMAC

    [.BC.] huMAC Well-Known Member

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    "Really great information. Very well done ikky.
     
  14. ikky

    ikky Senior Member

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    Cheers brother.
     
  15. quikcf

    quikcf Well-Known Member

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    Excellent information for people like myself who havn't gone to school for anything but have a slight interest and need a well planned and thorough introduction
     

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