Elements of Design
- An image on a design that draws the attention of the viewer.
- When combined with another point it creates a line, and when a third point is introduced the brain interprets it as a triangle.
- A line is a mark made when a point is moved across a scene.
- The line creates a psychological impact when it takes into regard direction, weight and variation of the two can have an impact on the emotions of the scene or design.
- Form is an area or a mass that defines an object within space.
- Form is categorized in two groups, two dimensional form and three dimensional shape
- Two dimensional form has width and height, and can create the illusion of depth.
- Three dimensional shape actually has depth as well as width and height.
- Organic and geometric are other descriptions of form.
- Organic forms are naturally occurring, and are irregular in shape.
- Geometric forms resemble more normal shapes like squares, rectangles, etc. These forms are viewed as typically constructed.
- An image can also be realistic or abstract.
- Abstractions are distortions of reality, such as a caricature, which a distortion of a quality of a person to bring out its presence.
- Movement is the element that operates in the dimension of time. It is spoken of as being either literal or compositional.
- Literal movement is the actual movement of an object within an image. This was first able to be achieved in film.
ú Prior to motion pictures, the usage of a diagonal like and the positioning of images was the way that static media artists created movement.
- Compositional movement is not concerned with the presence of movement, but is instead focused on how the viewer perceives the image.
- Color is the entire subject of shades and hues, and is one of the most powerful elements of composition.
- Hue is the spectrum of colors, the range of colors to choose from.
- Value is the relative lightness and darkness of a color.
- Value creates spatial illusions and defines the form.
- Contrast separates objects in space, while gradation suggests the mass and shape of a continuous object.
- There are three basic primary colors that all hues can be created from, these include cyan, magenta and yellow for printers and red, blue and yellow for painters.
- Complements are colors that are opposite each other on the spectrum of hues. When mixed the colors are desaturated or dulled.
- Afterimage is a phenomenon that occurs when a very specific defined set of complements are near each other, this can cause the image to be more intense and even cause the boundaries between the colors to vibrate.
- Color illusions are created by the eye and the brain, but are not actual properties of light waves or pigment.
- Color proportion is the impact of the relative quantities of a given hue or value used in a color composition. A different arrangement of similar colors can result in a much different image than if the original colors were used.
- Simultaneous contrast is when colors appear to change when seen against a different background. Changes in hue, value, saturation and area will alter the appearance of a selected color.
- Optical mixture is when small particles of different colors are blended together in the eye. This mixture is based more on differences in light than pigments.
- Color Psychology
- Market researchers study the emotional responses of people to color, to decide which color is best suited for their products.
- The responses vary from culture to culture.
- Red: associated with blood
- Positive- energetic, passionate or exciting.
- Negative- aggressive feelings, anger or violence.
- Orange: associated with flesh, a warm fire and friendship.
- Positive- approachability and informality
- Negative- A lack of quality or indiscriminate
- Yellow: Color of sunshine
- Positive- optimistic, upbeat, modern
- Negative- overwhelming
- Green: associated with nature
- Positive: life, stability, naturalness, restfulness
- Negative: infection, sickness, decay
- Blue: associated with water
- Positive- coolness, distance, spirituality and elegance.
- Negative- sadness, passivity, alienation, depression.
- Violet: associated with fairy tales
- Positive- fantasy, playfulness, impulse and dreaming
- Negative- nightmares or madness.
- Color trends are studied by researchers. Color trends are simply where one color becomes more popular for a period of time.
- An underlying structure that organizes surfaces or structures in a consistent, regular manner.
- Harvard professor Peter Stevens suggests that there are only a finite number of patterns in nature, and by connecting points of a grid in different manner you can show all the possible patterns in nature.
- Flow is following the path with the least resistance, such as water in a river.
ú Meander patterning is related to flow because it builds upon the repetition of an undulating line.
- Branching is a form of pattern found in plants and some rivers and crystalline formations.
- Spiral patterns are circular patterns found anywhere, from the galaxies to microscopic animals.
- Packing and Cracking refers to the way that compacted cells define each others shape. In nature this occurs when a cluster of mushrooms forms and the caps mold to fit each other.
- The quality of an object which we sense through touch. Textures come in many forms.
- Bristly, rough and hard are examples of what is typically referred to as texture, but smooth, cold and hard are texture too, as well as wet and dry and many others.
- All objects can be described in terms of texture because of this, making texture a very important tool in many artists work.
Principles of Design
- Visual equilibrium, is related to our own sense of balance. Most successful compositions achieve either symmetrical or asymmetrical balance.
- Symmetrical balance is like having weight press on the sides of an image equally to provide fulcrum.
ú This is referred to as formal balance, bilateral symmetry is achieved on an axis because of this.
ú Symmetrical balance can be achieved by arranging elements around a central point as well, creating radial symmetry.
ú Approximate symmetry is the forms are not completely identical, but are arranged along a fulcrum line.
- Asymmetrical balance is more complex and difficult to envision. It involves placing objects in a way that the varying visual weight causes balance along the fulcrum point.
ú In some paintings this is done by placing many small objects on one side to balance out the fulcrum point.
- The relative size and scale of various elements in a design.
- The issue is the relationship between objects, or parts, of a whole image.
- We tend to judge appropriateness of size and scale based on its relation to our own height.
- Churches and government buildings are built with such towering roofs to cause people to feel dwarfed, making them look in awe at the power of the buildings owner.
- Homes on the other hand are smaller because smaller it results in a comfortable environment.
- Timed movement through space, and in art an easy path for the eye to follow.
- Rhythm creates predictability and order for a image.
- Visual rhythm can be created in a number of ways.
- Linear rhythm is a characteristic flow of an individual line. Linear rhythm is not dependant on pattern.
- Repetition involves using a pattern to create a “beat” for the piece. It can be clear or subtle, depending on what the artist prefers.
- Alternation is a pattern where a sequence of elements are repeated in turn. (ex. Short and long, round and square)
- Gradation uses a series of patterns to relate one shape through a progression of other shapes, can be used to create a series of events.
- Point of focus or interruption. It marks the spot on an image that should draw the viewers attention.
- Most works have only one primary point of focus, with a secondary point or two in other parts of an image to help highlight the primary point of emphasis.
- The emphasis is usually a break in a pattern or movement to break rhythm.
- Emphasis can be achieved in a number of ways.
- Repetition creates emphasis by calling attention to the repeated image through volume of images.
ú Color repetition, like on some maps, draws attention to certain clusters of color.
- Contrast is when an element sets apart from the rest of the image.
ú The use of a neutral background to isolate to point of emphasis.
ú Differences in color, texture or shape to call attention to a specific area.
ú Size and scale to make certain images more important.
ú Strategic positioning calls attention to a particular element.
- Contrast of detail is unusual, but consists of many points of emphasis that cause more attention to detail.
- The combination of all other elements of design, it important because without it there would be no harmony between the parts.
- Can be achieved through the usage of patterns and consistency of form and color.
- Unity also exists in variety, not all elements need to be identical in form providing they have a quality of meaning or style.
Non-EuroAmerican Modes of Thinking
- Historical Background
- China has been the goal of European merchants and travelers since ancient times.
- The civilization has been around since about 3500 BC, before India and the Middle East.
- Chinese religion has had a major impact on their art.
- For example the terra cotta soldiers in the imperial tomb at Shanxi.
- Developed around the 6th century BC around a moral code of proverbs written by Confucian.
- Confucian symbolism is drawn upon ancient interpretations of plant and animal imagery and mythology.
ú This is evident in the stylized animal and plant images seen on the rank badges of civil servants, or on imperial robes.
- Dates back to the 6th century BC, taught that the individual should surrender to the vastness of nature in order to find their true place in the world.
ú The famous Yin-Yang symbol in many other forms of art is the religious symbol for Taoism.
ú The focus on nature causes it to have a strong presence in Chinese art.
- For example landscapes with small people in the foreground are meant to emphasize the vastness of the natural world.
- Arrived from India in the 6th century AD, focused on an inner path of spiritual peace through mediation and study.
- Is very similar to Confucianism, except for the inner path to spiritual peace.
- There are two forms of Buddhism, Theravada and Mahayana.
ú Theravada stresses the teaches of the historic Buddha, with a focus on moasticism.
ú Mahayana has a pantheon of Buddhist saints, or Boddhisatvas. This form of Buddhism is focused on enlightenment.
- Buddhist art shares features with older religions, but tends to stress teaching and meditation aspects of the faith. The worlds largest Buddha is in China standing at 44 feet.
- Chinese Visual Art
- The most distinctive factor in Chinese art is the nature of Chinese writing.
- Unlike the languages of most other regions of the world Chinese writing is pictographic.
ú The symbols have changed over time, becoming more decorative, but each symbol has more meaning.
- The usage of certain things in nature in art are never random. Such as:
- Crane- Longevity
- Dragon- Power and immortality
- Phoenix- renewal and fertility
- Flowers- different seasons have different meanings, but it usually means fertility.
ú And unlike Euro-American art there is not always a separation between words and images, and poetry and pictorial images tend to mingle.
- Chinese painting
- Began as fragmentary sets of images on scrolls, but developed to more coherent and structured compositions that took full advantage of the scroll form of most paintings.
- As time went on the paintings became more stylized, followings set conventions. The scroll form had distinctive effects on the visual images placed on these surfaces.
ú Chinese paintings do not have single point, linear perspective that Euro-American paintings do, instead the perspective points shift as the viewer’s eye moves through the landscape.
- Chinese architecture
- Symbols dominate Chinese architectural design.
- Public structures are typically timber with curved roof beams and extended edges that reach over the roofs edges because of that construction method.
ú In Chinese culture it was believed that demons could travel through straight lines, so buildings were built with curves, broken lines and articulated surfaces.
- Embellishing the surface was also important in Chinese architecture.
ú Surfaces were carved and painted with colors and images, which were established by tradition in accordance to function and status of the house owner.
- For example, palaces were usually blue green and red with occasional usage of black, white and yellow.