Class Resources

Elements of Design

Line -Linear marks made of objects appear as line.  Line can be horizontal or vertical. Example: A stem of a flower can create line.
Shape – A shape is self-contained area and can be geometric or organic. Example: Leaf is organic and stop sign is geometric.
Direction: All lines have direction and the direction can create movement in your image.  Example:  A road will lead us to the background.
Proportion – The relationship between the size of objects.  Example: If you have a hand in the foreground and a person in the distance, the person will appear to
be smaller than the hand in the foreground.
Texture – Texture is the surface quality of a shape and can be rough, smooth, soft, hard, or shiny. Example: Tree bark has more texture than a leaf.
Value: The lightness or darkness of a color.  Value is also called tone.  Example:  A picture of the trees will have a black shadow, gray leaves and white sky and all the gray values in between.  A sunny day will work better than a cloudy day because the sun will create more shadows.
Color: Use primary, secondary, and tertiary color schemes to create emphasis. You can also get more complicated feel by using complementary colors. Color is a great way to create emotional impact.


Principles of Design

Pattern / Repetition – The works must be conceived with fire in the soul but executed with clinical coolness. Joan Miró
Contrast – The state of being strikingly different from something else, typically something in juxtaposition or close association.
Balance – Symmetrical or A-Symmetrical Balance
Contrast – Changes in value can create ariel perspective. Far away mountains are lighter and get darker as you approach them.
Movement – Repetition of similar shapes can make the eye move through the image.  
Harmony – Similar shapes or values can create a sense of harmony, and can help move the viewers eye throughout the image.
Variety – Different shapes or values can create contrast or break up the static feel of an image.
Focal Point – A focal point such as the eyes on a face are the place where the viewer will look first, and the focal point is usually related to the theme or concept of the image. 
Unity – The elements in the image that are related and cause the elements to work together


Archives: Art Galleries and Art Museums

Museum of Modern Art 


Whitney Museum

The Smithsonian American Art Museum

The Art Institute of Chicago

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