Elements of Design

Following on from my previous post, this is from an article in Simply Cards and Papercraft, UK Edition, Issue 7 (not sure why this was published first, I think it is information that follows on from the previous information).

The seven elements of design are:

  1. Point
  2. Line
  3. Form / Shape / Space
  4. Movement
  5. Colour
  6. Pattern
  7. Texture

For more detail read on

1.  Point

One point is the focus of the page.  If there are two points, the brain will automatically make a ‘line’ and join them.  If there are three points, it will be ‘seen’ as a triangle and so on.

One often used rule in design is the Rule of Thirds.  Visualise your surface (card, page, canvas) as being divided into a grid of 3 x 3 squares or rectangles.  Important elements of the compesition should be placed where the lines intersect, or along the lines themselves.  This will produce a nice visual balance.  However once you know how to use this rule, it is easy to play around with it a break it for different effects.


2.  Line

Lines direct the eyes, divide areas, and can create textures and patterns through combining visually.  Horizontal lines are restful and relaxing.  Vertical lines reflect stature and greatness.  Diagonal lines suggest movement and direction.  Curved lines can suggest anything from relatation to confusion, depending on how shallow or deep they are.


3.  Form / Shape / Space

This can be either a two or three dimensional space.  Regular shapes such as squares, rectangles and circles are Geometric forms.  More irregular formes are considered Organic.  There is also asbstract form.  Form can also be positive or negative, such as when the reverse of an image or letter is used.

Space can create depth and dimension, and add contrast and interest to artwork.  Put warm colours in front of dark colours because cool colours automatically recede visually.


4.  Movement

Moving pieces on artwork create added interest, known as kinetics.  This might be in the form of pull outs, rotating objects, pop-up images, images or text under a flap etc.  These are all ways to add dimension and incorporate movement.


5. Colour

Colour represents emotion, and allows objects to stand out from the background they have been placed on.  Choice of colour can greatly influence the character of a work.  Complimentary colours create a sense of action and excitement, and they intensify each other when placed side by side.  Colour schemes that combine families of colours are visually pleasing and easy to work with.

Colours can cause an image to come forward or recede visually, and also have certain psychological connotations.  Blue is associated with tranquility and calm, green is tied to nature, red could be danger or passion (or both!), and yellow suggests prosperity.  These associations are not mandatory but can add extra depth to your work.  Black and white can be used as a contrast to almost every colour scheme.


6.  Pattern

Patter is a repeating unit of shape or form.  They can range from soft and subtle to bold and bright.  Patterns can add interest and depth to a project- anything from being an accent to being the feature of the work.  It is also possible to create patterns with a mixture of media such as paints, stamps, chalks, inks and pens.


7.  Texture

Texture is the quality of an object which is sensed through touch.  It could be a surface that a view can feel, or it might be something that can produce a sensation that can be imagined.  Texture elements can include, but are not limited to, wool, fibres, wood, fibbons, textured paper, hardware, and found objects.


And that is the end of the article.  Again, there was lovely samples of cards as visual references of the different techniques.  Very useful information, and I wanted to put it here so that it was handy in case I can’t find the relevant magazine in a hurry when needed.

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