Monday, 3 June 2013

Design Elements and Principles


The elements of design are the things which make up a painting or drawing. It consists of six elements which are line, shape, direction, tone, texture, and perspective.

1. Line is formed by infinite number of points. It can be straight or curved, thin or thick, etc.

2. Shape can be formed by two dimension or three dimension. It created by an enclosing line. Two dimension has height and width but without depth whereas three dimension has height, width, and depth.

Horizontal line of direction

Vertical direction

Oblique line of direction
3. Direction can be divided into horizontal, vertical or oblique. Horizontal gives calmness, stability, and stillness. Vertical gives a feeling of balance, alertness or chaotic. Oblique suggest movement and action.

4. Tone is the lightness or darkness of a colour.

5. Texture is the surface quality of a shape. For example, rough, smooth etc. It can be physical and visual texture. Physical texture is the texture which can feel physically. Visual texture is the illusion texture.

6. Perspective is the appearance of objects in space, and their relationship with each other, and the viewer. In photography, it is used to describe the intensity of the impression of depth.


The principles of design can be thought of as what we do to the elements of design. It consists of alignment, repetition, contrast, proximity, and balance.

1. Alignment is one of the most basic and important principles of design. It creates a sharper, more ordered design. It tightens the design and eliminates the haphazard, messy effect which comes when items are placed randomly.  

2. Repetition strengthens a design by tying together individual elements. It helps to create association and 

3. Contrast is created when two elements are total opposites. It can be achieved with fonts, lines or shapes. 
Also, it must be strong and obvious and needs to make an impact.

4. Proximity helps creates organisation. By grouping similar elements together or in close proximity, you create a relationship between those elements. It also provides a focal point which give the reader an idea of where they should start and finish reading.

5. Balance provides stability and structure to a design. It can be achieved in two ways which is symmetrical or asymmetrical. Symmetrical balance is achieved when the weight of the elements on both halves of the design is even, given a centre line. Asymmetrical balance is achieved by the use of contrast.

After learning design elements and principles, I realized that both design elements and principles are closely linked. Also, all elements are formed by each other. First, line is formed by points whereas shape is formed by line. Furthermore, direction, tone, texture, and perspective influence each other too. For example, a three dimension shape will have tone when expose to the light.

Besides, by determining the usage of elements can provides a different result such as contrast, repetition or balance. Therefore, the arrangement of elements and principles together will create a feeling of completeness.


Hortin, A. (2009). The Five Basic Principles Of Design. maddisondesigns. Retrieved from

Ian Wright Travel Photography. (2010). Design Elements Lines, Shapes, Perspective, Texture, Pattern, Rhythm. Retrieved from

Lovett, J. (1999). Elements And Principles Of Design. johnlovett. Retrieved from

Tersiisky, D. (n.d.). The Elements And Principles Of Visual Design. nwrain. Retrieved from

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