Monday, October 24, 2011

Principals and Elements Of Design

Today we begin a deeper study and understanding of design, and what it is made of. By studying the individual components we can identify why a design works, or doesn't work.

Principals and Elements of Design Exercise:
  • Create an 11"X17" document in Illustrator
  • Layout a grid of 10 equally spaced and sized boxes
Draw and create a representation for each task listed below all artwork must be original, no copy-pasting or tracing:

  1. Texture: create a representation of texture
  2. Line / Rhythm and Movement: Draw a composition of lines that express rhythm, movement or energy
  3. Line / Variety and Emphasis: Draw a composition of lines that express emphasis and variety
  4. Shape / Organic: Draw the outline of an organic shape, such as a tree or an apple
  5. Shape / Geometric: Draw the outline of a geometric shape, such as a house or city skyline or mechanical objects
  6. Shape / Pattern: Draw a pattern such as a brick wall, the grain in wood or a kitchen tile
  7. Shape / Overlapping: Draw two or more shapes that overlap such as a person in front of a tree or house. this shows depth.
  8. Perspective: Draw a box that shows 3 sides
  9. Contrast: Draw a composition that exhibits contrast
  10. Value / Tone: Draw a box that shows 3 sides and shade it to show a light source

This project will be due Thursday

"People ignore design that ignores people." — Frank Chimero

Design elements are the basic units of a visual image. The principles of design govern the relationships of the elements used and organize the composition as a whole. All imagery, art, design and photography alike, are comprised of elements that can be broken down and analyzed. 

The Elements of Design
Space: Space refers to the distances or areas around, between or withing components of an image. It can exist in two or three dimensions. Space can refer to positive space(a shape, such as an apple) or negative space (the absence of an apple shape). It can also refer to elements in the foreground, mid or background of an image.

Line: Line is the basic element and refers to the continuous movement of a point along a surface, such as a pencil or brush. Line can also be created by the edges of other shapes. Lines can vary in length, thickness and direction.

Balance: Balance can either be symmetrical or asymmetrical. The balance of an image can affect the focal point of an image. The location of objects, their sizes and colors, textures and shapes all affect the perception of balance in an image.

Color: Color and particularly, contrasting color is used to draw the eyes attention to certain areas. It can invoke mood and emotion. Color is created in many different ways... but in all color spectrums, there are primary colors, which all other colors are derived from, and secondary and tertiary colors. Certain formula’s exist for choosing colors that are pleasing to the eye, one way is using Complimentary Colors, which appear opposite each other on a color wheel. Colors can be perceived as “Warm” such as reds, yellows and oranges, other colors are “Cool” such as purples, greens and blues.

Shape: Shapes are what give objects their definition. Think of the silhuoette. Shapes can be organic (curved, soft, random) or geometric (angular, sharp, organized, complex).

Texture: Texture is perceived surface quality. In art two types of texture exist, tactile and implied. Tactile texture is the way a surface actually feels, such as sandpaper or tree bark. Implied texture is the way the surface of an object “looks” like it feels. This is created with different pencil and brush techniques. In the modern digital realm, texture is a strong ally in design.

Value: Value is an element that refers to the relationship between light and dark. It can also be referred to as tone or shading. The value of an object helps give it form and depth. 

The Principles of Design
Unity: Unity refers to a sense that everything in a piece of work belongs. It can be referred to in the literal sense of course, or just by the way balance, repetition and other elements acheive a design harmony.

Variety: The use of dissimilar elements. Differences in shape, texture, color, line etc.

Repetition: This refers to the recurrence of elements within a piece. Color, lines, shapes and other elements can be echoed, often with some subtle variation to maintain interest. Repetition can be random or organized, or express rhythm and patterns.

Harmony: Harmony is acheived through the sensitive balance of variety and unity. Harmony in color can be acheived by using complementary or analagous colors. Harmony in design is reflected in consistency in style, similarity of components. Harmony can also extend to the use of texture, color, scale etc.

Contrast: Contrast is the occurrence of differeng elements, such as color, value, scale etc. It creates interest and helps direct the focal point. Contrast helps define depth and space as well. Objects that are closer to use appear lighter, and objects that are farther away often appear darker.

Proximity: This refers to the physical placement of objects or elements in a piece. Proximity is used to communicate ideas like relation, importance or hierarchy.
Proportion: Proportion involves the relationship between objects. It is relative to size and scale. Proper proportion is important in implying realism, and skewing proportion can force the viewers perspective to change. One classical expression of proportion is the “Golden Ratio” in mathematics and the arts. Throughout history, the ratio for length to width of rectangles of 1.6 (roughly) has been considered the most pleasing to the eye. 

Functionality: In the design world, good design is created for a purpose. This is the difference between art and design. Art is created for the aesthetic value, while design is created to communicate. Art is developed by artists often to satisfy personal motivation. Design is created by designers, for clients, to communicate a message or information. Good design must be aesthetically pleasing as well as informative.
Poster design by Milt Glaser