S4 - DAY ONE - Elements Of Design

Elements of Design:

those qualities of a design that can be seen and worked with independently of its

figurative content. They include line, form, value, texture, color, and shape.

Line: an actual or implied mark, path, mass, or edge, where length is dominant.

Form: the volume and shape of a three-dimensional work, perhaps including unfilled

areas that are integral to the work as a whole.

Texture: the tactile surface characteristics of a work of art that are either felt or

perceived visually.

Color: a visual attribute of things that results from the light they emit or transmit or

reflect; the visual response to the wavelengths of light, identified as red, blue, green, etc.;

primary and secondary colors; warm, cool, and neutral colors, color value; hue; and


S4 - DAY TWO - Value & Shape/Form

Value: the lightness or darkness of a color; contrasts between light and dark.

- Shade: a color produced by adding black to a pigment.

- Shading: showing change from light to dark or dark to light in a picture by darkening

areas that would be shadowed and leaving other areas light. Shading is often used to

produce illusions of dimension and depth (see illustration).



Form/Shape: an area which stands out from the space next to it or around it because of a

defined boundary or because of a difference of value, color, or texture.

     - Volume: the mass of three-dimensional shapes in space.


- Plane: a shape which is essentially two-dimensional in nature but who’s

relationship with other shapes may give an illusion third dimension.

- Positive space: space that is occupied by an element or a form.

- Negative space: the unoccupied or empty space left after the positive shapes

have been laid down by the artist; however, because these areas have boundaries, they also

function as shapes in the total design.

- Two-dimensional: having two dimensions (height and width); referring to something that is flat.

- Two-dimensional space: a measurable distance on a surface which show height

and width but lack any illusion of thickness or depth.

- Three-dimensional: occupying or giving the illusion of three dimensions

(height, width, depth).

- Three-dimensional space: a sensation of space which seems to have thickness

or depth as well as height and width.

- Linear perspective: a system for creating the illusion of depth on a two dimensional surface. The system

is based on a scientifically or mathematically derived series of actual or implied lines that intersect at a

vanishing point on the horizon. Linear perspective determines the relative size of objects from the

foreground of an image to the background


S4 - DAY THREE - Principles Of Art & Design

Principles of Design:

the basic aesthetic considerations that guide organization of a work of art. They include balance, movement,

emphasis, contrast, proportion, and unity.


Balance: a feeling of equality in weight, attention, or attraction of the various elements within a composition

as a means of accomplishing unity.


- Symmetrical balance can be described as having equal "weight" on equal sides of a centrally placed fulcrum.

It may also be referred to as formal balance. When the elements are arranged equally on either side of a central

axis, the result is Bilateral symmetry.

- Asymmetrical balance, also called informal balance, is more complex and difficult to envisage. It involves

placement of objects in a way that will allow objects of varying visual weight to balance one another around

a fulcrum point. Whether the solution is simple or complex, some form of balance can be identified in

most successful compositions.

- Vertical balance: the distribution of visual weights in a piece in such a way that top and bottom seem to

be in equilibrium.

Proportion: Proportion refers to the relative size and scale of the various elements in a design.

The issue is the relationship between objects, or parts, of a whole. This means that it is necessary to

discuss proportion in terms of the context or standard used to determine proportions.


Rhythm: Rhythm can be described as timed movement through space; an easy, connected path along

which the eye follows a regular arrangement of motifs. The presence of rhythm creates predictability

and order in a composition. Visual rhythm may be best understood by relating it to rhythm in sound.


Repetition: involves the use of patterning to achieve timed movement and a visual "beat". This repetition

may be a clear repetition of elements in a composition, or it may be a more subtle kind of repetition

that can be observed in the underlying structure of the image.


Alternation: is a specific instance of patterning in which a sequence of repeating motifs are

presented in turn; (short/long; fat/thin; round/square; dark/light).


Gradation: employs a series of motifs patterned to relate to one another through a regular

progression of steps. This may be a gradation of shape or color. Some shape gradations may in

fact create a sequence of events, not unlike a series of images in a comic strip.

S4 - DAY FOUR - Principles Of Art Design


S4 - DAY FIVE - Principles Of Art Design

Emphasis: is also referred to as point of focus, or interruption. It marks the locations in a composition

which most strongly draw the viewers attention. Usually there is a primary, or main, point of

emphasis, with perhaps secondary emphases in other parts of the composition.


The artist or designer uses emphasis to call attention to something, or to vary the composition in order

to hold the viewers interest by providing visual "surprises."


Contrast: is the juxtaposition of opposing elements eg. opposite colors on the color 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 painting is the visually satisfying effect of combining similar, related elements. eg.

adjacent colors on the color wheel, similar shapes etc.


Dominance: gives a painting interest, counteracting confusion and monotony. Dominance can be

applied to one or more of the elements to give emphasis



Unity: is the underlying principle that summarizes all of the principles and elements of design.

It refers to the coherence of the whole, the sense that all of the parts are working together to achieve

a common result; a harmony of all the parts.


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.




Students must be prepared to make a major commitment. It is our assumption that students entering the program are here to lay a foundation for a career in a design field and will be required to meet rigorous and stringent standards. Strong communication skills, both verbal and written, are required as is the ability to read and analyze. Serious students will find that the program will provide them with an excellent opportunity to develop the skills necessary to succeed in the job market or advance in education. _Most of the students graduating from the program _continue their education.

Steve Bross

Commercial Art Instructor


Central Montco Technical High School

821 Plymouth Road

Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462


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