Elements and Principles of Design

Using the definitions below find an image on line that represents each definition. Copy all of the terms and definitions below and paste them on your OWN blog post with an image that represents each. You should have a total of 14 Images and definitions. The image should be placed next to the definition on your blog post.

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 designs will contain most of if not all, the seven elements of design.

Line can be considered in two ways. The linear marks made with a pen or brush or the edge created when two shapes meet.

A shape is a self contained defined area of geometric or organic form. A positive shape in a painting automatically creates a negative shape.

All lines have direction – Horizontal, Vertical or Oblique. Horizontal suggests calmness, stability and tranquillity. Vertical gives a feeling of balance, formality and alertness. Oblique suggests movement and action

Size is simply the relationship of the area occupied by one shape to that of another.

Texture is the surface quality of a shape – rough, smooth, soft hard glossy etc. Texture can be physical (tactile) or visual.


Color is the element of art that is produced when light, striking an object, is reflected back to the eye. There are three properties to color. The first is hue, which simply means the name we give to a color (red, yellow,blue, green, etc.). The second property is intensity, which refers to the vividness of the color.

Value is the lightness or darkness of a colour. Value is also called Tone

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.


refers to the sense of distribution of perceived visual weights that offset one another. We feel more comfortable–and therefore find it more pleasing–when the parts of an artwork seem to balance each other.

Gradation of size and direction produce linear perspective. Gradation of of colour from warm to cool and tone from dark to light produce aerial perspective. Gradation can add interest and movement to a shape. A gradation from dark to light will cause the eye to move along a shape.

Repetition refers to one object or shape repeated; pattern is a combination of elements or shapes repeated in a recurring and regular arrangement; rhythm–is a combination of elements repeated, but with variations.

Contrast is the juxtaposition of opposing elements eg. opposite colours on the colour wheel – red / green, blue / orange etc. Contrast in tone or value – light / dark. Contrast in direction – horizontal / vertical.
The major contrast in a painting should be located at the center of interest. Too much contrast scattered throughout a painting can destroy unity and make a work difficult to look at. Unless a feeling of chaos and confusion are what you are seeking, it is a good idea to carefully consider where to place your areas of maximum contrast.


Harmony in design is the visually satisfying effect of combining similar, related elements. eg. adjacent colors on the color wheel, similar shapes etc.

Dominance in a piece of art means that an object or color stands out in relation to the painting, picture, etc. colors that contrast or large objects tend to dominate the picture, and therefore is what your eye is naturally drawn to. An example would be a yellow square surrounded by a larger purple square.

is the appearance or condition of oneness. In design, unitydescribes the feeling that all the elements in a work belong together and make up a coherent and harmonious whole. When a work of art hasunity, we feel that any change would diminish its quality. Variety, on the other hand, provides diversity.


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