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Elements of Design

These are the ingredients to any design project, whether it's a way to set up your garden to a map that shows people who to go from here to the moon. The ingredients, like those within a cake, often interact with each other to the point that the cake wouldn't exist if one of these elements were missing. There are eight design elements that are pulled together by eight design principles.

  • Line - A line is simply a series of dots, or points, in space. That line can be straight (although some would argue that a line can never be truly straight) or curved. Lines are used to delineate objects as in a line drawing, or used to create graphs, or used to outline areas as in a framed effect. Imaginary lines are created when two areas of different colors, textures, or values meet to create a line between those effects.
  • Colour - Hues, which are represented by the shades (add black), tones (middle ranges), and tints (add white) of any given color. Get a color wheel. You'll love yourself for that effort, because a color wheel can help you to determine various color schemes such as contrasting colors, triadic schemes, etc.
  • Volume - Although volume is often represented by three-dimensional objects, a two-dimensional designer or artist can create the illusion of volume (and, therefore, depth and/or distance) through various techniques like perspective, shading, and highlights.
  • Movement - Movement is not animation, although animation illustrates movement. Movement is how you as a designer move the viewer's eye through a space with the line, contrast, volume, and the placement of objects within a design (composition).
  • Space - Space comes in two flavors: Positive space, which is represented by highlights or by an object; Negative space, which is represented by open space or by shadow. The balance of space creates a composition.
  • Texture - Texture is illusion in two-dimensional design. In other words, the designer/artist creates the "feel" of a brick, water, or other object through drawing or through photographic representation. Collage artists may represent texture through the actual object, such as sandpaper that represents sand.
  • Value - Value is light and dark and all the shades in between (gray scale). The use of this element creates contrast.
  • Typography - In design, topography is an element; however, it's an element created by other elements such as line, space, volume, and value.

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Master of Arts in Visual Communication Design
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Graphic Arts (AAS)

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Bachelor of Science, Animation & VFX
  • Located in Hollywood, CA, offering degrees in film, music production, business, animation and more.
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