Sure, inspiration and imagination are great tools when creating a beautiful design but, in order for your creation to be successful and to not look chaotic or unfinished, it’s important to follow some basic design rules. These are known as the Elements and Principles of Design. Not all of them need to be used at any one time, but carefully chosen they can produce an outstanding representation of the imagination.
Here we will give you a brief understanding and overview of a few of the concepts.
Elements of Design
Design elements refer to a set of components which are used to effectively structure and define visual messages. Look at them as moving parts which when combined tell a story.
We are all aware of what lines are. They can be curved, angled or straight. Vertical, horizontal or diagonal. Broken or continuous, wide or thin. Line is the first and most basic concept of the design elements.
Colour is a very important element of design. It both affects and is affected by it surroundings and the colours in it. Cololur tells a story, and creates moods and atmospheres in a space. Each colour will say something different, and when used in combination with others will convey another mood or impression. The colour wheel is a useful designers tool.
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All objects are composed of shapes in one way or another and provide interest to your design. It is important to understand how various elements of your design are interacting.
Texture can add depth, tactility and interest to an otherwise bland and flat design. Use sparingly as too much can be overwhelming.
Principles of Design
The Principles of design are a way of arranging the basic elements to create one whole design. How these are elements and principles are applied will determine how successful a design may, or not be.
Repitition can help unify individual elements, to bring them together to look like they ‘belong’.
Contrast creates emphasis and makes something ‘stand out’. It’s an obvious difference between two elements. For example, light vs dark, smooth vs rough, large vs small.
A harmonious design is a completed design. It is important that visually all pieces work together to form the overall design concept.
Balance is a visual equality in your design, it ensures that one element does not overpower another. Two types of balance are Symmetrical and Asymmetrical. Symmetrical being exactly the same both sides, a mirror image. Asymmetrical being where elements on either side do not reflect one another, but are different elements used on either side with similar perceived weights.
Great design is about creating harmony among the elements and principles, and having them unify as a beautiful final product. No individual part should be viewed as more important than the whole design – everything needs to work together to create the overall effect.