PRINCIPLES OF DESIGN: specific “recipe” for their use. RULES/LAWS

•The principles of design are the RULES/LAWS used to create a work of art. 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. There is no
specific “recipe” for their use.
•Proportion/Scale is the feeling of unity created when all parts (sizes, amounts, or number) relate
well with each other. When drawing the human figure, proportion can refer to the size of the head
compared to the rest of the body.
•Balance is the distribution of the visual weight of objects, colors, texture, and space. If the design
was a scale these elements should be balanced to make a design feel stable.
•A. SYMMETRICAL: The elements used on one side of the design are similar to those on
the other side.
•B. ASYMMETRICAL: not exact but counterbalanced with contrasts such as dull and
bright colors, dark with light values, geometric with organic shapes, active and inactive areas. In
asymmetrical balance, the sides are different but still look balanced.
*C. RADIAL: it “radiates” outward or inward like a spiral or burst-like effect.
•Unity is the feeling of harmony between all parts of the artwork creating a sense of completeness.
•Unity can be achieved through the effective and consistent use of any of the elements, but
pattern-- that is, underlying structure-- is the most fundamental element for a strong sense of unity.
Consistency of form and color are also powerful tools that can pull a composition together.
•However, unity also exists in variety. It is not necessary for all of the elements to be
identical in form providing they have a common quality of meaning or style. For example, fashions
from a specific period share common features of silhouette, materials, and color that identify the
style of the day, or the look of a particular designer.
•Unity can also be a matter of concept. The elements and principles can be selected to
support the intended function of the designed object; the purpose of the object unifies the design.
•Variety keeps life interesting. Imagine if everything in your life was the same, day in and day out.
Imagine the monotony! Variety in art refers to the use of contrasting or different types of Elements
in a work of art. An artist knows that adding contrast to a work of art adds interest.
•Movement in a composition guides a viewer¹s eye through the work, usually to a FOCAL POINT.
An artist arranges parts of an image to create a sense of motion by using lines, shapes, forms, and
textures, or by combining elements of art to produce the look of action.
•Rhythm is created when one or more elements of design are used repeatedly to create a feeling of
organized movement. Variety is essential to keep rhythm exciting and active, and moving the
viewer around the artwork. Rhythm creates a mood like music or dancing.
•Emphasis is the part of the design that catches the viewer’s attention. Usually the artist will make
one area stand out by contrasting it with other areas. The area will be different in size, color,
texture, shape, etc. Emphasis is also referred to as point of focus, or interruption.