The basic elements of design

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Design is a concept that usually entails a visual composition that is meant to transmit a message. Although design can be applied in multiple domains, the theoretical principles of design are universal and should be the foundation of any aspiring designer. The elements of design are all the components that are blended together in order to create a visual presentation. A basic understanding of these elements will aid a future designer understand the connections between the elements of a design as well as the impact that each element has on the overall composition.

The point is the basic element that is used in order to develop more complex elements. A line is a combination of points closely linked. The line is characterized by length and direction and it is used to create shapes, divide spaces and direct the eye. The six main line categories are:outlines, contour lines, gesture lines, sketch lines, calligraphic lines and implied line. Each type of line has a specific purpose. From creating perspective to defining objects, lines are vital to any type of quality design.

Amongst the basic elements of deign we will also find shape. Usually the intersection of multiple lines results in creating a perimeter that defines a shape. As all elements shapes also fall into some categories. They can be geometric, organic, positive, negative,static or dynamic. Furthermore shapes can be realistic or abstract. They represent the main concept of any design and all the other elements serve only to add value to the shapes. The arrangement of shapes in a composition helps define another element: space. This element can be divided in the following categories positive,negative,picture plane or focal point.

In order for a shape resemble a real object it needs to be covered with texture. Of all the elements of design texture is the one that adds realism. Although various objects have different surfaces, textures can all be divided into two main categories: rough and smooth. Various techniques have been developed in order to mimic the texture of basic materials that we find in real life. In order to accurately draw texture you must be able to find the distinct characteristic of a material and represent in your composition.

Color is a very powerful design element. Furthermore it is a complex element that needs to be studied carefully in order to properly apply it to composition. Various color harmonies can help inspire a certain feeling or emotion. While these are the main elements of design, they are just a foundation on which you must sediment an extensive amount of knowledge in order to create quality designs.