Of Design

What are the Elements of Design?
Line, Shape, Color, Tone, Texture, Direction, Size
We can think of the elements of design as a collection of abstract tools. They can be combined and arranged in any way we like to create some sort of visual statement.
The elements of design are the raw materials or building blocks for any form of visual expression.

Armed with an understanding of the Elements and Principles of Design, we gain a much deeper insight into the creative process and are better able to appreciate the subtleties and struggles that bring about a work of art.


How do we use the Elements of Design?

Looking at our work in terms of each individual element helps us to analyse and understand what we are creating.

When we analyse any form of visual expression, consciously considering it in terms of the elements and principles of design gives us a broad platform on which to base our judgments.
Although the list of elements and principles seems fairly straight forward, there are many apparent contradictions, omissions and variations to the list here.

Some classify Form as an element, some list Mass and Rhythm, others leave out Tone, Size and Direction, some consider Direction a Principle rather than an Element. The more you read the more varied the list becomes.

I consider the list here covers all possible options in the most economic way. I have listed Proportion and its sub headings as separate concepts, outside the Elements and Principles, but very closely related and extremely important in an understanding of design.


The Elements and Principles of Design are not a sure fire recipe for artistic success, but they are an extremely useful tool for understanding visual arrangement.


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John Lovett


John Lovett is an Australian artist working in oils, watercolor and mixed media. Since commencing his career John has held over thirty five solo exhibitions and taken part in many joint ones. John’s work is represented in private and corporate collections in Australia, United Kingdom, Europe, Asia and USA. John’s passion for his work and his open easy approach to teaching make his books, DVD’s and workshops thoroughly enjoyable, extremely informative and always very popular. His articles are regularly featured in “International Artist” magazine.      




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© 2017 John Lovett (all text and images unless otherwise stated)