Elements of Design
The elements of design were created by Arthur Wesley Dow to help people see, describe, and create visual qualities in a systematic way. It consists of 7 elements: line, shape, form, colour, value, texture and space.
Lines are paths or marks left by moving points and they can be outlines or edges of shapes and forms. Lines have qualities which can help communicate ideas and feelings such as straight or curved, thick or thin, dark or light, and continuous or broken. Implied lines suggest motion or organize an artwork and they are not actually seen, but they are present in the way edges of shapes are lined up.
Shapes are two- dimensional surfaces such as circles or squares, and forms are three-dimensional shapes like spheres or cubes. A concave form has a pushed-in surface like the inside of a bowl and a convex form has a raised surface like the outside of a bowl. When you are looking at shapes and forms, the shape that you see first is called a figure or positive shape and the area around it is called the ground or the negative shape. The natural curves in different objects, such as trees or clouds are called organic shapes. Geometric shapes and forms are precise and regular such as cubes, pyramids, and circles. A free-form is an irregular invented shape or form that has qualities of a geometric form or an organic form.
Light is what lets you experience colour. The pigment of the retina in your eyes is sensitive to different lengths of light waves which allows you to see different colours. The wavelengths of light that humans can see are called the visible colour spectrum.
Hue is the common name for the colours in the spectrum which are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet. A pigment is a colouring agent such as paint or dye that reflects certain wavelengths and absorbs others. The primary hues are red, yellow and blue and they can’t be mixed from other hues. Secondary hues are orange, green, and violet and they are mixed from primary hues. Intermediate colours are mixed from a primary hue and a secondary hue that are next to it on the colour wheel.
Value is the difference in light or dark which is used to create shadings in artwork. The value of any colour can be changed by adding white to it. A light value is called a tint and a dark value of a hue is called a shade. Artworks that are dominated by tints are called high key works and artworks that consist of dark values are called low key work. Strong contrast in a value is called chiaroscuro which gives a work drama or excitement. Intensity refers to how bright or dull a colour is and simultaneous contrast refers to the way you perceive one hue in relation to another.
Colour schemes are used to unify artworks and it consists of three common schemes: warm, cool, and neutral. The warm colour scheme is vivid and energetic and tends to advance in space. It consists of red, orange and yellow. Cool colours give an impression of calm, and create a soothing impression....