7 Elements of Design
Color: another name for hue.
Color Theory:
primary colors: red, blue, yellow
secondary colors: orange, violet, green
intermediate colors: yellow-green, blue-green, blue-violet, red-violet, red-orange, yellow-orange
Color Schemes:
Monochromatic: one color and all of it's values
Complementary: 2 colors across from one another on the color wheel
Analogous: colors that are neighbors (colors that are next to each other - b, bg, g, yg.)
Warm colors: reds, yellows, and oranges
Cool colors: blues, greens, and violets
Tint: color plus white
Shade: color plus black
Value: The lightness or darkness of a color (tints, shades, tones)
Line: a moving dot (vertical, horizontal, diagonal, zig-zag, curvy, wavy, spiral....)
Space: a way to show depth
Arial perspective: overlapping, size change, details, horizon lines
Linear perspective: using a vanishing point and a horizon line to create depth within an artwork
Form: 3D (cube, pyramid, sphere, cylinder, cone...)
Texture: how a surface feels visually and physically
visual or implied texture: in a painting - how it looks to feel
actual texture: how a surface actually feels to the touch like feeling carpet or sandpaper
Shape: 2D (square, triangle, circles....)
organic shapes: free form like in nature
geometric forms: squares, rectangles, triangles....
Principles of Design
  1. Formal Balance:  happens when one half of a work is a mirror image of the other half.


  1. Informal Balance:  happens when two different objects seem to have the same visual weight, but do not have a mirror image.


  1. Radial Balance:  happens when elements or objects in an artwork are positioned around a central point.


  1. Harmony:  blending elements in a pleasing way, uncomplicated and soothing.  Often artists use a small number of the same elements again and again, or repetition, to bring harmony to a work of art.


  1. Emphasis:  making an element or object in a work stand out.


  1. Proportion:  how parts of a work relate to each other and to the whole.


  1. Movement:  the principle of art that leads the viewer to sense action in a work or it can be the path the viewer’s eye follows throughout the artwork.


  1. Rhythm: the repeating of an element to make a work seem active.


  1. Unity:  the arrangement of elements and principles with media to create a feeling of completeness.  Unity in an artwork is like an unseen glue.  You can’t point it out but you can sense it.  You can also sense it when it is missing.


  1. Pattern:  repeated elements in an artwork.


  1. Variety:  the combination of elements to provide interest in an artwork.


Elements of Art:

line – shape – space – form – texture – value - color




Aesthetics is the study of the nature of beauty and art.


Aesthetic View is an idea on what is most important in a work of art.


3 common Aesthetic Views:


  • Composition – the way the principles are used to organize theelements of art.
  • Subject – an image a viewer can easily identify.
  • Content – the message, idea, or feeling expressed by a work of art.



Art Criticism


An Art Critic is a person whose job is studying, understanding and judging works of art.


3 steps in art criticism:


  • Describing.“What do I see when I look at this work?”
  • Analyzing.“How is the work of art organized?” (What principle or principles have been used to organize the elements of art?)
  • Interpreting.“What is the artist saying to me?What moods or feelings or ideas are expressed?”
  • Judging.Would you say that this work is successful?Does it have unity?What factors contribute to its success or lack of success?



Spectator’s Itinerary


Three parts to indentify:


Dominant – The area of the artwork that attracts the spectator’s attention first.


Subdominant – The area of the artwork that the spectator is attracted to second.


Subordinate – The last area of the artwork that the spectator is attracted  to.