MyMenu

June 21, 2016

Visual Elements of Design

The "Visual Elements of Design," also known as the "Elements of Art," are essential building blocks to translate an idea or message into a visual concept, design, or composition. In visual arts, these elements can be found in drawing, painting, mixed media, photography, or any other two-dimensional (2D) visual communication methods, and the list depends on the source.

Similar to words in spoken language, they are used to express images or visual messages. Each element has its own meaning or can be associated with other elements to convey a specific emotion or emotional response. Use them deliberately to control how visual messages, images, or stories are composed.

Line

Lines are long, thin marks on the surface. Lines may also be created from the edges of shapes. They may be sharp, firm, soft, or lost in or out of focus. Lines may create boundaries or contours defining a shape or form. Lines may also create the illusion of motion or lead the viewer's eye throughout an image. Lines may also be implied, and their quality can be soft or bold. Lines can also convey emotions. For example, sharp or jagged lines portray a different feeling than elegant or smooth lines. Straight lines may be horizontal, vertical, or diagonal. Organic lines may be radial, spiral, or curved. Line lengths may be long, short, continuous, or broken, whereas the line width can be thick, thin, uneven, or tapered.

Line

Straight lines may be horizontal, vertical, or diagonal. Organic lines may be radial, spiral, or curved. Line lengths may be long, short, continuous, or broken, whereas the line width may be thick, thin, uneven, or tapered. Lines may also be implied, and their quality may be soft or bold.

Shape

A shape is an enclosed area or figure. A shape may also be defined as an area that stands out from the space around due to an implied boundary or edge. Shapes may be enclosed by a line in a drawing. Shapes have the characteristic of length and width. Silhouettes are shapes or forms filled in with a single tone or a color. The outer edge or contour of any shape automatically creates a negative shape on the other side up to the frame or edge of the paper.


Shape

The form differs from a shape in that it includes any visual information regarding its location, scale, or orientation. The form is the configuration of a shape in which is well understood how this object sits in space with regard to the viewer. For example, a square is a shape, a cube turned three-quarters becomes a form. There are endless varieties and combinations of shapes or forms including, natural, geometric, abstract, or free form. Whether they are complex or straightforward, the meaning of shapes or forms is derived from the viewer's culture.

Value

Value is one of the many characteristics of color. It describes the lightness or darkness of a shape or object. Variations in light and dark values create patterns. Our vision uses these patterns to determine one shape or object from another, even in low lighting conditions when we cannot determine the hue or color. Value also conveys mood or lighting conditions. For example, values with little contrast evoke a different feeling than values with extreme contrast.

Value

Tones can be light, dark, or in between. A tone is a single color swatch or a single shade of gray, which may be compared to another tone or a single step on a value scale. A gradation is a gradual change from one tone to another, used to depict an object's volume or three-dimensional characteristics or shape. Gradual changes in value create the illusion of a 3D object on a 2D surface.

Texture

The texture is both a visual and tactile phenomenon, including the surface or substance's feel, appearance, or consistency. Without a sense of structure, the texture is just a pattern that may create a variety of visual interests. Texture also conveys moods. For example, rough texture evokes a different feeling than soft or smooth.

Texture

Natural texture is the appearance of a material, such as wood grain, metal, glass, or leather. The tactile or physical texture is the variations of a surface or material, which may also be felt by the touch, such as animal fur or reptile skin. When light hits the variations in the surface, it castes small shadows. Visual texture or inferred texture is a realistic illusion of a physical or natural texture on a 2D surface, usually by alternating values.

Color

Color is a characteristic of human visual perception producing different sensations on the eyes due to the way an object reflects or emits light. It is described as a hue and contains a spectrum of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, or purple. Color also has other characteristics such as value, intensity, and temperature.

Color

Colors are capable of affecting our mood. They can also create a feeling of warmth or coolness. Hue combinations may cause harmony or disharmony. Scientists have found that physiological changes occur in human beings when they are exposed to specific colors. The meaning of hue or color is always derived from the viewer's culture.

Space

Space is a continuous area or expanse that may be free, available, or unoccupied. It refers to the distance between shapes or objects. 3D space is recognized as having height, width, depth and is referred to as space. Nothing exists without it and is the distance or area around each object, between, above, below, or in real places.

Space

2D space is the illusion of depth. Visual Arts, it is primarily limited to height and width. It can be created by linear perspective, atmospheric perspective, magnified perspective, placement, elevation, or overlap.

The "Elements of Design" are different from the "Principles of Art," including various ideas or ways to organize the elements. Composition is the art of organizing these elements into a harmonious or pleasing whole.

Are you using these elements to articulate your visual message?