What Is Principle Of Design In Art

The Principles of Design in Visual Arts

Originally published September 2017 by Matt and Laura Grundler I used an index card viewfinder and a summary of the Principles of Design as my own go-to reference materials. As a first step, I’d ask students to spend some time observing and studying masterworks. I’d choose 250 works from the AP Art History Course and ask them to seek for works that display significant contrast, unity, rhythm or other characteristics, among other things. After that, we’d spend some time outside with our viewfinders, observing and looking for potentially excellent compositions to work with.

This is not a lesson that can be taught in a single sitting; rather, it is something that has to be discussed with each work and reviewed on a regular basis.

There are other compositional strategies available, including the rule of thirds, which is taught in detail in the YouTube video below.

Regardless of how you approach composition, you will almost certainly return to the Principles of Design (maybe more than once!) As a result, I’ve provided extra graphics for your convenience.

Downloadable PDFs for use as posters in your classroom.

Wishing you Amazing Compositions in the future.

Principles of Design:

A design concept that describes the manner in which the parts of an image are ordered is known as a design concept (i.e. balance, contrast, dominance, emphasis, movement, repetition, rhythm, variation, unity).

  • An artwork’s attention and intrigue are achieved by the use of contrasts between values, colors, textures, and other aspects.
  • The part of a work of art that draws the viewer’s attention
  • The focal point
  • A component of a work that leads the spectator to perceive activity, or the route the viewer’s eye travels throughout a piece of art
  • The relationship between one part and another, as well as the relationship between one component and the entire
  • Repetition of an element or elements to provide the impression of movement or vibration in a work
  • The arrangement of materials and concepts in conjunction with media in order to produce a sense of completion or entire
  • The bringing together of one or more things in order to generate attention

Laura and Matt Grundler are art professors who live in the Texas city of Plano. They are also proud parents, bloggers, and the creators of the famous Twitter chat K12ArtChat. They have three children. Laura has a background in art education, having taught middle school and high school art as well as serving as an assistant principal. She has now taken on the job of Visual Arts Coordinator for the district. Matt began his career as a graphic designer, but after discovering that the commercial side of design was frustrating, he moved on to become a kindergarten through fifth-grade art teacher.

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The 7 Principles of Design – 99designs

The principles of design are the guidelines that a designer must follow in order to produce a composition that is both effective and appealing. Among the most important design principles are the concepts of emphasizing something, balancing and aligning something, contrasting something with something else, repetitioning something else, proportioning something else, movement, and white space. Design varies from art in that it is required to have a functional purpose. When interpreted visually, this functionality is represented by ensuring that an image has a center of attention, also known as a point of focus.

“I was under the impression that design was all about originality?” If you’re a budding entrepreneur or designer, you could be tempted to go crazy and mix the first five typefaces and colors that strike your eye, under the impression that you’re producing something completely unique and original.

Graphic design, like any other discipline, is governed by a set of laws that operate behind the surface of the work to keep it steady and balanced.

This post will walk you through seven fundamental design ideas that will help your next project stand out from the crowd.

1. Emphasis—

Design by miai313 for Handel’s Messiah Rocks poster campaign. Consider the following scenario: you’re designing a concert poster. You should consider the following question: what is the very first piece of information that my target audience requires? Is it the band, or something else? Alternatively, how about the musical venue? What about the time of day and the cost of attending the conference? Make a mental outline of what you want to do. Prepare to let your brain to arrange the information before laying out your design in a style that expresses that organization.

Alternatively, you may use the largest, boldest type possible.

If you begin your composition without a clear understanding of what you’re attempting to express, your design will fail in the same way that writing without an outline or constructing without a plan would fail.

2. Balance and alignment—

Shwin created the poster design for Rumspringa. Never lose sight of the fact that every thing you set on a page has a certain amount of weight. Color, size, and texture may all contribute to the overall weight of the piece. In the same way that you wouldn’t put all of your furniture in one corner of a room, you shouldn’t cram all of your heavy pieces into one region of your composition. Your viewers will feel as though their eye is slipping off the page if your presentation lacks balance. Symmetrical design achieves balance by aligning equally weighted pieces on either side of a central line, which produces a sense of equilibrium.

Do you have a question?

Inquire with our staff. Symmetrical patterns are always attractive to the eye, though not a little monotonous at times. Designing with asymmetrical patterns is more daring, and it has the potential to provide significant visual intrigue and movement (more on that later!) to your composition.

3. Contrast—

for Rumspringa, a poster designed by Shwin Never lose sight of the fact that every piece you set on a page has a certain amount of force behind it. Color, size, and texture may all contribute to the overall weight. In the same way that you wouldn’t put all of your furniture in one corner of a room, you shouldn’t cram all of your weighty pieces into one section of your composition. Your viewers will get the impression that their eye is sliding off the page if your presentation is not balanced.

The employment of opposing weights (such as juxtaposing one huge piece with multiple smaller ones) in asymmetrical design, on the other hand, results in a composition that is not evenly distributed but nevertheless maintains balance.

Inquire with our staff members.

Designing with asymmetrical patterns is more daring, and it has the potential to provide significant visual intrigue and movement (more on that later!) to a composition.

4. Repetition—

Rumspringa’s poster was designed by Shwin. Never lose sight of the fact that every element you set on a page has a certain amount of weight to it. Color, size, and texture all contribute to the overall weight of the piece. Just like you wouldn’t put all of your furniture in one corner of a room, you shouldn’t cram all of your heavy pieces into one region of your composition. Your readers will feel as though their eye is sliding off the page if your content is out of proportion. Symmetrical design achieves equilibrium by aligning equally weighted parts on each side of a central line, which acts as a fulcrum.

Have a question?

Inquire with our staff.

Designing with asymmetrical patterns is more daring, and it has the potential to provide true visual intrigue and movement (more on that later!) to your composition.

5. Proportion—

Mahuna created the poster design. The apparent size and weight of parts in a composition, as well as their relationship to one another, are measured in proportion. It is generally more beneficial to approach your design in portions rather than as a complete. Grouping comparable things together might give them more prominence when they are displayed in a smaller format—for example, a box at the bottom of your poster for ticket information or a search bar in a sidebar on a website.

Proportion can only be accomplished if all of the parts of your design are of appropriate size and are intelligently positioned. Once you’ve mastered the fundamentals of alignment, balance, and contrast, proportion should naturally emerge.

6. Movement—

Stefanosp created the poster design for the Great American Music Hall. Let us return to our concert poster for a moment. How would you communicate with your audience if you determined that the band was the most significant piece of information on the page and the venue was the second most important piece of information? In a composition, movement is the process of manipulating the elements such that the viewer’s attention is drawn from one to the next and the information is effectively delivered to them.

All of the aspects listed above, particularly balance and alignment, will contribute to that aim, but without adequate movement, your design will be doomed.

7. White space—

Design of a poster for pmoretti All of the other aspects are concerned with the additions you make to your design. White space (also known as negative space) is the only type of space that deals solely with what you don’t contribute. White space is exactly what it sounds like: the space between the pieces in your composition and the rest of the page. It may be a dangerous zone for those who are just starting out in the industry. Often, merely increasing the amount of breathing space in a piece may elevate it from average to successful.

Naturally, our minds equate an element with significance and luxury when there is a lot of white space surrounding it.

Furthermore, it has the potential to transmit a whole separate picture or notion from your primary design, rewarding your viewers for their participation.

How to use the principles of design—

It is not necessary for a design to perfectly adhere to these guidelines in order to be considered “excellent.” Some completely mind-blowing designs defy one or more of the design principles in order to generate a work that is both visually appealing and functional in its execution. Rebecca Schiff is the author of The Bed Moved. For example, take a look at the cover of Rebecca Schiff’s novel “The Bed Moved,” which was created by Janet Hansen for Knopf. This was one of the most praised book covers of 2016, according to the New York Times.

  • What drew your attention to the bottom line, where the letter M from the word “Moved” is separated on a separate line from the remainder of the word?
  • But!
  • The most critical information has been given.
  • It is important to think of design components as moving parts that work together to convey a story.

As you begin to work on your design project, it is essential that you get acquainted with the design concepts. Only then will you be able to defy the established rules and develop your own distinctive style.

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The original version of this article was published in 2019. A fresh set of examples and information has been added to the document.

7 Principles of Art and Design

A basis for the vocabulary we use to talk about art and design is laid forth by the components and principles of art and design. The visual tools that an artist use in order to construct a composition are referred to as the components of art. Line, shape, color, value, form, texture, and space are the elements of design. The principles of art reflect the way in which an artist employs the components of art to produce an impact and to assist in the communication of the artist’s meaning. Balance, contrast, emphasis, movement, pattern, rhythm, and unity/variety are some of the concepts of art and design to consider.

Paintings are created based on the principles of art that the artist chooses to employ in their creation.

It is possible that when an artist is establishing focus, he or she is also utilizing contrast, or vice versa.

As a result, one principle of art can have an impact on the effect and impact of another principle of art.

The 7 principles of art

The visual weight of the parts in the composition is referred to as the composition’s balance. In other words, it is a sensation that the painting is sturdy and “feels just right.” The spectator has a sense of unease as a result of the imbalance. There are three distinct approaches to achieving balance:

  1. As in a mirror-image or the two sides of a face, symmetry refers to the presence of the same components on both sides of a composition, such as the same parts in the same location. Asymmetry is a type of composition in which the balance of the composition is achieved via the contrast of any of the parts of art. Using the example of a huge circle on one side of a composition, a tiny square on the other side may be used to balance the composition. Radial symmetry is a type of symmetry in which pieces are evenly distributed around a central point, such as the spokes coming out of the hub of a bicycle tire

Please refer to the page “Balance” for some examples of how the components of art might be employed to generate a sense of harmony. A contrast is the difference between two or more pieces of art in a composition, with the result that each element is rendered stronger in proportion to the other element. When juxtaposed with one another, contrasting aspects draw the viewer’s attention to themselves. An observer’s attention is drawn to areas of contrast among the first things he or she notices. Contrast may be generated by arranging any of the parts of art in a different order.

  1. Contrast may be created by juxtaposing colors that are complementary to one another.
  2. When the artist develops a section of the composition that is visually prominent and captures the viewer’s attention, this is known as emphasizing.
  3. The use of art components in such a way that they move the viewer’s attention around and inside the image is what is meant by movement in art.
  4. Pattern is defined as the regular repeating of any of the components of art or any combination of these elements in a consistent manner.
  5. Spirals, grids, and weaves are examples of traditional patterns.
  6. Zentangles are a popular drawing technique in which an abstract or representational outline is broken into several regions, each of which features a distinct pattern.
  7. It has something to do with rhythm in music.
  8. a sense of unity and variety You want your artwork to have a sense of unity, so that all of the parts work well together.

Too much consistency leads to monotony, while too much diversity leads to pandemonium. Both are required. It is preferable to include regions of interest in your composition as well as resting spots for your eye in your composition.

13 Principles of Design in Art

Art is a fascinating effort, and there are some rules that must be followed in order to produce something flawless. The guidelines that you must follow in order to bring your thoughts into reality are listed below. Some of the fundamental ideas will be discussed in this essay.

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What are Principles of Art and Design?

The following are only principles and recommendations that indicate how aspects of designs should be ordered and blended in order to produce the best possible fit and look. Especially in cases when a proper composition of the individual design components is critical, they are quite simple. The rules of art help us to determine whether or not a certain picture was executed in an excellent manner. Furthermore, these same principles prevent us from entering an undefined territory in which no principles can be utilized to define or analyze art.

  • Pattern
  • sBalance
  • sVariety
  • sHarmony
  • sEmphasis
  • sDominance
  • sProportion
  • sMovement
  • sRhythm/repetition
  • sUnity
  • sContrast
  • sScale
  • sspace

In the next sections, we will go into further detail about these design concepts in art.

1. Pattern

The pattern refers to the way things are visually organized in accordance with a recurring shape or sequence of intelligent information. This is a fundamental design notion that is not always readily apparent to the observer. In art design, it is not difficult to guarantee that there are patterns. It might be as basic as a simple underlying design that alternates bright and dark components, or as complex as the design’s usage of specific colors to achieve this effect. The pattern is not difficult to understand in terms of the principles of art and design.

This is the psychological technique that some painters employ in order to add patterns into their work.

The pattern draws the viewer’s attention to the entire composition as a whole and makes it memorable.

Patterns should be included into a space where other architectural elements or works of art are given more respect than they are now.

2. Balance

Another important design factor in art is the concept of balance. Specifically, it relates to the placement of parts in a design in such a way that no portion appears more flawless than the others. Every element of the design should express a feeling of balance and harmony via the use of color and spatial arrangement. There should be tension and balance in the design, whether it is in the shape, the weight, or the space. Balance may be assessed on a scale in the actual world, outside of the realm of design.

Design balance, on the other hand, is not measured in this manner.

It’s only a sensation, and how the spectator interprets it is up to them. Equilibrium may be defined in three different ways in design terminology. We will present an overview of these three forms of design balance in the sections that follow.

In order to achieve formal equilibrium, both sides of the work should be mirror images of one another or identical to one another. Formal balance is sometimes referred to as symmetrical balance in some circles. In any piece of art, the formal balance may be immediately noticed. Some people, however, believe that it detracts from overall appeal in the work. Asymmetrical equilibrium, also known as informal equilibrium, is a situation in which two items that do not appear to be identical appear to have the same weight, but in reality, they do not.

  • It is difficult to discern a sense of informal balance in the artwork.
  • By repositioning the bigger figures closer to the center point and the smaller shapes farther away from the central point, it is possible to produce an informal equilibrium in the drawing.
  • This is achieved by arranging the majority of the elements close to the center of the work.
  • The term “radial equilibrium” refers to the fact that only elements radiate from a central point that is similar to the artwork.

3. Variety

The term “variety in design” refers to the process of drawing attention or creating interest by mixing one or more design aspects. It contributes to breaking up monotony while increasing attention and appeal. When variety is included into works of art, it improves the overall aesthetic appeal of the entire piece of art. It’s not difficult to add diversity to a piece of art when you know how. A single straight line may be used to break up the monotony of numerous curving lines when drawing drawings, and bright colors can be used to break up the darkness of the darkest colors when painting.

4. Harmony

This is merely a combination of components to generate a pleasing visual effect. In order to generate an appealing look, the blended elements should be those that share a common or comparable interest with one another. Due to the fact that both rectangles and squares are made up of parallel lines, they may be harmoniously combined to produce an aesthetically pleasing look. Artists with a lot of expertise utilize this design idea to connect distinct work components by choosing colors that harmonize and make a pleasing combination.

5. Emphasis

The purpose of emphasizing a design element or item is to distinguish it from the other components or objects in the same design effort. The idea is crucial for designers because it emphasizes the front view, or the aspect of the design that is visible to the spectator immediately. The artist may also manage how much time a viewer spends staring at a particular design element by using this technique. It is difficult to draw attention to the design effort. While it is necessary to use other aspects and design principles in the art to get the desired effect, it needs forethought and foresight on the part of the designer to achieve the desired result.

Accents may be added to a piece of artwork by using contrasting colors and components, for example.

Setting accents is simpler in photography than it is in other mediums.

The photographer may also achieve emphasis by changing the lighting or backdrop of the subject and either moving the subject closer or further away from the camera, which generates an emphasis.

6. Dominance

The Dominance property is meant to guarantee that certain aspects in an artwork have precedence over other ones. It is through the application of design principles that the unity of art is achieved. Repetition of an element within a theme is the most effective approach to emphasize dominance in design and art. The dominating aspect of a piece of art should outweigh all of the other elements in the same piece.

7. Proportion

The relationship between different aspects of a design task and how they act in relation to other sections of the same job is referred to as proportion. It is just the comparison of measurements and forms of created work, to put it another way. It helps the artist to draw attention to the most important aspects of a piece of work. Sorting in just necessitates a few simple actions. It is possible to make some elements that may be regarded major elements bigger than the rest, for example. It’s not only about the scale, which is employed to draw attention to the most important aspects of the piece.

8. Movement

As a result of using this approach, an artist might build a sense of the activity depicted in a work of art. Lines and forms, among other things, may be used to create a sensation of movement in the viewer’s eyes by properly combining them. In addition, different colors and textures can be used to form a route that directs the viewer’s eyes through the piece. By arranging items in a logical order and positioning them near to one another, a rhythmic movement may be generated.

9. Rhythm/repetition

The term “repetition” refers to the appearance of a single element in a design work more than once. Color, shape, line, and form are all possible elements. The repetition of an element is designed to draw the viewer’s attention to the element in question. Design may also employ repetition to make a certain portion of a task more significant by emphasizing the same elements again and over. The recurrence of patterns may make you feel as if they will never stop if they are planned properly. While the primary purpose of rhythm in art is to capture the viewer’s attention, it may also be utilized to design user interfaces that have repeated components to make it easier for the user to discover what they are looking for.

10. Unity

The concept of unity guarantees that the elements are placed in the proper order in order to generate a sense of wholeness. Design components should be put with care in order to generate a sense of unity in the work in order to achieve unity. The pieces of the design should not appear to be moving in the same direction.

11. Contrast

Contrary to this, frequently referred to as antagonism or conflict, variety is not far away. One distinction between the two works is in how the changing element is employed throughout the piece. For example, in design work using circles, a square might be employed to generate contrast between the two shapes. The contrast in the art of design is simply the fact that some parts in a work differ from other elements in another work. The contrast principle aids in the achievement of concentration.

It follows from a basic logic that elements that do not contrast can be polished while those that do contrast can stand out from the crowd.

Contrast is a vital element in any design job that you do. Even if you ignore the idea of contrast, any work might appear to be as empty as a blank paper with nothing written on it. In art, contrast may be produced in a variety of ways. We’ll learn more about these forms in this section.

The smooth and structured components of its shape stand in stark contrast to one another. As implied by the name, contrasts in bright and dark, saturated and matte colors are employed to generate visual interest. This refers to the process of making one specific region more detailed than another. It is clear from the name that it is intended to make the distinction between different forms, such as circles and rectangles, stand out. In spite of the name, it is intended to make the distinction between different forms, such as circles and rectangles, readily apparent.

12. Scale

In art, scaling refers to the use of various aspects to draw the viewer’s attention and establish a focal point.

13. Space

Space, which may be either positive or negative in nature, is an excellent component in any design project. The architecture of the room has an impact on the overall balance of the project. When it comes to positive and negative space, there is little distinction. For a place to be regarded positive, it must be inhabited by items, and not just any objects, but objects that are filled with the vital things. Space, on the other hand, is seen as negative when it is found between two objects. You might refer to it as “white space,” and it plays an important function in the design process.

Text may be copied and pasted into other documents, but white space cannot be copied and pasted.


Hopefully, this post has helped you understand the concepts of design in art a little better. As a result, you should be able to apply the concepts to your creative work and, ideally, convey your ideas flawlessly via art. Even if you want to include these design concepts into your artwork, it is important to note that you are not need to apply all of them in order to produce flawless work. You can employ some of them and yet come up with something fantastic to show for it.

Elements of Art and Principles of Design

Line, shape, color, value, form, texture, and space are some of the elements of visual arts. Each artwork demonstrates these characteristics in different ways.

  1. Line This graphic depicts a corridor with various lines that are used. By employing the perspective approach, the image is given depth by the varying lengths of lines. Shape The road sign seen above combines two different shapes: a diamond and a rectangle. Because of the use of forms in various road signs, drivers can anticipate the signs from a distance without having to precisely recognize the words and pictures on the signs. Color The photograph above displays a variety of hues, with the center tree in particular standing out. It is illustrated by the tree from top to bottom that the transition from red to green may be continuous despite the fact that the colors are of different qualities. The use of alternative hues in the photograph, particularly on a sunny day, contributes to the overall feeling of cheerfulness. Value The varying shades of color represent the different values, as seen by the shadows on the cup in the above image. The direction of the light is shown by the brightness on the right of the cup and the darker hue on the left, which in this example represents the sunshine. This also provides visitors with an idea as to when time the photograph was shot as well. Because the light appears to be coming from a lower source, the photograph might have been taken in the evening or early morning. Form The depth of 3-dimensional things is demonstrated by their form. Because of the varying values that the objects have at different portions of the image, it is evident that the items are three-dimensional in the image above. The fact that the items are three-dimensional is further demonstrated by the shadows at the bottom. Texture Texture reveals the fine characteristics of the material, allowing the viewer to better envision and experience the scene. The texture of a tree bark is depicted in the image above, and viewers may get a sensation or assume that they are there in the image since they may envision how the texture feels on their skin. Space When it comes to drawing the attention of viewers to a certain object, space is critical. The sky serves as an empty space in the image above, drawing the viewer’s attention to the Statue of Liberty.
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Principles of Design

Principles of design are the principles that artists employ to express certain messages in their work, according to their own preferences. Balance, contrast, emphasis, movement, pattern, proportion, alignment, and unity are just a few of the characteristics.

  1. Balance In a picture, balance is defined as the presence of a symmetry line. An axis of vertical symmetry runs through the center of the image, with the right and left parts of the image almost identical to one another. This ensures that the right and left sides of the picture are in equilibrium with one another. Contrast Contrast can be detected in a picture using any of the image’s characteristics. The image above depicts the difference in brightness between the trees on the left and the trees on the right. The trees on the left are bright, while the trees on the right are dark. However, there is frequently an imaginary line that clearly divides the two opposing criteria
  2. Contrast may also be recognized by numbers, color, and other characteristics. Emphasis Emphasis may be conveyed by the use of various features that distinguish it from other parts of a picture. By focusing on the group of flowers and blurring the backdrop in the image above, the group of flowers is given greater prominence. Using this concept, the flowers will be the focus of the viewer’s attention. Movement In most cases, movement in a picture is represented by a continuous line that depicts the object’s moving route. The water is pouring down the rocks in the photograph above, as evidenced by the continuous stream of water that runs down the rock face. Using this technique, viewers will have an easier time envisioning themselves in the scenario of a location. Pattern A pattern is a theory that describes how something is reproduced over and over again. The hexagon-shaped lights in the above image are repeated numerous times to create the appearance of a bee-hive pattern. Proportion The difference in size between one object and another object is represented by the proportion. The sign on the left appears to be far larger than the structure on the right in the image above. Assuming that the building is larger in the actual world, viewers might infer that the sign is closer to the building based on the ratio between the two
  3. Alignment Alignment is identical to pattern, except that it is placed in a line instead. The image above depicts some flowers that have been cultivated in a line rather of being distributed over the area. There are further flowers in the line, so viewers may choose to extend their views beyond the frame of the photograph. Unity Because the items are grouped in a coherent manner, unity is the principle that is applied in the majority of real-world photographs. The image above demonstrates the oneness seen in nature. Despite the fact that the bamboo house is man-made, it blends in with the river and the trees since it is constructed of bamboo, which is a natural material. A similar green hue may be seen reflected by river water, which blends in with the green trees that line each side of its course.

What Are The Principles Of Art (Or The Principles Of Design)?

Artistic principles (also known as design principles) are simply a collection of criteria that are used to describe how the visual aspects of a piece of art are structured. In terms of objective standards for studying and critiquing art, these principles are perhaps the closest thing we have to a set of guidelines. When it comes to objectively identifying what is wonderful and what is not, the field of art is famously ambiguous. During his lifetime, an artist of a certain era may be derided, yet after his death he may be hailed as a genius (such asVincent van Gogh).

  • They enable us to express the qualities that distinguish a great picture while maintaining an element of objectivity and consistency.
  • In design, pattern is a highly essential notion that relates to the visual arrangement of pieces that have a recurring form or a comprehensible succession of parts.
  • The fundamental design might be anything as basic as a pattern that alternates between bright and dark in some sort of sequence.
  • Take note of how the subject’s upper arm almost merges into the backdrop in the painting below, as well as how the legs blend into the cloth, and the cloth blends into the remainder of the foreground in the painting below.
  • Bacchante is a painting by Joaquin Sorolla from 1886.
  • If one half of a painting has the same visual weight as the other half, a painting might be considered balanced.
  • Take note of how the dark regions utilized for the boat and foreground in the painting below seem balanced against the considerably greater expanse of soft, tinted hues in the picture below.

Emphasis is a technique that artists use to draw attention to a certain region of a piece of artwork.

The moon is given significant prominence in the artwork below, which is achieved by the use of high color contrast.

More information about focus may be found at arthere.

A work of art would be nothing more than a blank canvas if it didn’t have it.

A large number of Vincent van Gogh’s works are excellent examples of texture contrast in the field of painting.

The intensely saturated red in the picture below, for example, contrasts sharply with the rather bland hues used throughout the rest of the artwork.

1887 Detail contrast is defined as a contrast between regions of detail and parts that are more bland, as in the picture seen below.

Shape contrast is defined as a contrast between two or more forms (rectangles and circles).

In 1911, Willart Metcalf painted an early spring afternoon in Central Park.

Look at the painting below and observe how the lengths of the gaps between the trees vary from one to the next.

Isaac Levitan’s Oak Grove, Autumn, 1880 is a painting by Isaac Levitan.

When compared to some of the other criteria, harmony is a little ambiguous.

The elements that are out of balance should follow a logical sequence or have a logical link.

It’s similar to a misplaced note in a song.

It will just appear to be correct.

Harmony is something that comes to me when I think of Monet’s series of water lilies, with their serene groupings of color.

When we talk about unity in art, we’re talking about a type of link between all of the visual parts of a piece of art.

The artwork below exhibits a strong feeling of unity through the use of a similar palette of colors that runs across the whole picture.

The employment of a variety of visual components with varying quality or examples is referred to as variety.

The artwork on the right contains a great deal of diversity in color, form, and texture, but not so much that the painting loses its feeling of harmony.

The artwork on the right shows less variation than the one to the left.

Akseli Gallen-painting Kallela’s of Lake Keitele from 1905.

Using aggressive and directed brushwork to create movement in your painting is one of the most effective strategies for achieving this effect.

You might also imply movement by using repetition or a pattern in your writing.

Joaqun Sorolla’s Sea and Rocks – Javea was painted in 1900.

In addition, I couldn’t talk about the use of movement in art without bringing up the name of Vincent van Gogh.

More information about movement may be found at arthere.

For example, the breadth in relation to the length, the area of the sky in relation to the area of the land, or the area of the foreground in relation to the backdrop.

Take note of how the proportions of the female subject’s hands, face, feet, and torso are all precise in the artwork below, which was created by Giovanni Boldini.

Giovanni Boldini’s painting, A Guitar Player, was completed in 1873.

Examples are the size of a guy in relation to the tree beneath which he is seated or the size of a mountain in relation to the clouds in the sky.

For example, the size of a guy in relation to the rest of the picture may be right, but the proportions of his hands may be incorrect because they are excessively enormous in comparison.

Summary Of The Principles Of Art

I hope this post has helped you better grasp what the principles of art are and how you may use them to better understand and share your opinions about art to others. In addition, it is critical to recognize that a great picture does not necessarily comply with the rules of art in terms of its aesthetic qualities. The vast majority of outstanding paintings will simply illustrate a handful of the ideas discussed above. As a result, do not consider the principles of art to be a set of overarching laws that must be followed at all times.

A great picture is wonderful because it is based on the principles of art, which allows us to put some type of objective rationale behind why it is so excellent.

In addition, if you wish to study more about the fundamentals of art, myPainting Academycourse can be of interest to you.

Principles of Design In Art- A Printable for Kids

When it comes to art, the principles of design may be a little abstract, which can make it difficult to explain to children. However, once children comprehend that these ideas are only tools that artists employ, everything begins to fall into place.

The principles of design in art are like tools of the trade….

When I say “tools,” I’m not referring to a certain media or a specific sort of paintbrush. Rather than “tools,” the term “tricks” is used here. Here’s the “trick”: Getting a viewer’s attention on a certain location or moving their eyes around the entire work of art is what the artist is trying to accomplish with his or her work. Many artists do this instinctively and without ever defining the method that they are doing. Knowledge, on the other hand, is power. It is beneficial to have a basic understanding of the language and rationale behind the concepts of design while beginning an art study.

Start with the elements of art….

In order to really comprehend the principles of design in art, it is necessary to first comprehend the fundamental parts of art. The components are more specific thoughts that come together to form a work of art in one form or another. This is a sister printable for the elements of art that may be used as a prelude to this principles of design in art printable, which is also a sister printable for the components of art. Before you can walk, you have to crawl! This free printable book on the elements of art is also an excellent place to start for students in primary school or for students who have never worked with the elements of art before!

These are ideal for the older learner since they provide a more thorough explanation and examples for the following concepts: color, line, shape, texture, value, space, and form (see below).

Moving along….

It is very impossible to explain the principles of design in art unless you have a thorough understanding of what the elements of art are, and this is the reason for that difficulty. The components are straightforward concepts. Creating different sorts of lines, blending colors, and generating textures are all things you may try out. Isn’t it straightforward? It is a little more out there and abstract when it comes to the principles of design in the arts. It’s more difficult to determine what constitutes a healthy balance.

They emphasize a point in their artwork by including an element that is not seen elsewhere in the piece. Alternatively, they can generate contrast by placing two colors that are complimentary to one another.

Artist’s prerogative….

These design principles in art are intended to serve as guidelines and recommendations for artists to consider while creating their work. When it comes to determining what constitutes “excellent” or “acceptable” art, there are no hard and fast guidelines. That is part of the enjoyment of it! Knowing that, as an artist, these resources are available to you and are there for you to utilize (or not) is one of the most rewarding aspects of creating your own work! The rules are kind of there for you to break, aren’t they?

Apply that knowledge……

Now that you’ve reviewed your “cheat sheet” of fundamental terminology, you’re prepared to tackle the next printables. Match the name of the design concept with the proper definition to complete the sentence. Some concepts have been put together to make them easier to use and comprehend. For beginners, the distinctions between design concepts such as “rhythm” and “pattern” are just too minute to distinguish correctly. A comparable purpose is served by them in the artistic community. For a novice, it makes sense to group them together in this manner.

Does this look weird to you……

I understand that this principles of design in art printable may appear a little skewed at this point. But, I assure you, everything will work out in the end. Fold the printable above in half to make two pieces. To refold the halves, open them back up and fold each half into half (fourths) again so that the words come together in the center. You now have a convenient location to cut out and glue the definitions listed below. On each handout, the concepts of design definitions are listed in the same sequence as on the previous one.

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On the inside: The most comprehensive collection ever assembled of examples and definitions of design concepts, as well as helpful tools for teaching the components and principles of art. The core components of an artwork are the elements of art and design concepts, which combine to form the final product. The majority of works of art will use many or all of the aspects and principles of art into their creation. Even before we learn about these design elements, we frequently evaluate art based on how well the artist employs them in their work.

  • It refers to the tools that painters employ when making artwork.
  • The principles of design are the ways in which those building pieces are placed.
  • They are the various ways in which an artist might arrange the components of art in order to produce a variety of effects.
  • Combining these elements results in a comprehensive aesthetic vision.
  • When artists and producers apply the principles of art to their work, the results are more compelling.
  • Connecting with art makes us more sensitive and helps to reinforce the fabric of society as a result of our experience.
  • Previously, I claimed to despise the materials and principles of art, although this was not entirely truthful.
  • Art stimulates higher-level thinking, concentration, a growth mindset, visual literacy, curiosity, respect, and connection among people.
  • The components and concepts of design serve as a toolkit for the artist.
  • In the sections below, you’ll find an explanation of each of the design principles, as well as examples of artwork and connections to useful resources for teaching the topics covered in the sections.

Please keep in mind that this post contains affiliate connections to Amazon. Because I am an Amazon Associate, I receive money when people make eligible purchases.

Download the Free Elements and Principles Printable Pack

While teaching the components and ideas of art, this collection of printables was created to be used in a number of ways in your classroom. To use as a lesson manipulative, you may either print and put them in your classroom as posters/anchor charts, or you can cut out each element and concept of art and place them on their own separate card. Scroll down for further information on each aspect, or click on the link to be directed to the corresponding design principle:

  • • Contrast • Rhythm • Proportion • Balance • Unity • Emphasis • Movement • Variety


Contrast is a notion of art that refers to the arrangement of components and effects that are diametrically opposed to one another. For instance, light and dark colors, smooth and rough textures, huge and tiny forms are all examples of contrasts. Contrast may be utilized to provide diversity, aesthetic appeal, and drama to an artwork by contrasting opposites. Caravaggio used bright and dark contrasts, as well as directed lines, to create a scene that was full of activity and energy in this example of contrast in art.

Peter was completed in 1601.

Käthe Kollwitz’s Misery was published in 1897.

Contrast in Art Resources

  • The Paper Mill Store: Design Principles, Contrast
  • Jon Lovett: Contrast, Design Principles
  • Edvard Munch Art Lesson with Project
  • The Paper Mill Store: Design Principles, Contrast
  • Paintings of Judith and Holofernes: A Comparative and Constructive Art Lesson


Rhythm is a design principle that conveys the impression of movement or activity. Rhythm is frequently produced through repeating elements like as lines, forms, colors, and other elements. It gives artworks a sense of movement and provides a route for the viewer’s eye to go down. A pattern, repeated lines, and a contrast between curved and straight lines are used by the artist to create rhythm in his or her artwork in this example of rhythm. Sultan Süleiman the Magnificent’s Tughra (official signature) (r.

Shape, color, and line are repeated in this example of rhythm in art by Mondrian, who uses them to bounce the viewer’s attention across the artwork.

Throughout this entertaining movie about rhythm in art examples, the differences between pattern, repetition, and rhythm are explained and put to music by the artist.

Rhythm in Art Resources

  • Art Soup Video: Design Principles: Rhythm
  • Horse in Motion
  • Horse in Motion The very first moving pictures
  • An early photography-inspired flipbook project
  • The very first moving pictures


The size connection between the various sections of an artwork is referred to as proportion. Depth, realism, confusion, and drama are among experiences that artists may generate using the use of size and proportion in their work. The human figure is sized to seem larger than the city skyline, which is a deliberate choice. The proportions might be used to demonstrate depth of perspective or to represent the interaction between laborers in the construction of a metropolis. When the artist manipulates the individual dimensions of the kid and creates a varied size connection (scale) between the things in the painting and the child, he or she is creating meaning for the viewer in the artwork.

In this example of proportion in art, the artist intentionally distorts the proportions of their hands in relation to the rest of their body in order to enhance the significance of the artwork.

We, the French Workers, are sending you a warning. Slavery, starvation, and death are the consequences of defeat in 1942. More examples of proportion in art may be found here. Check out the page The Ultimate List of Proportion and Scale in Art Examples for more information.


In art, scale relates to the relationship between the size of one thing and the size of another object, as well as our impression of perspective and proportion. Realistic-looking artworks are sized in a manner that is close to that of real-world items. In art, the term “scale” can refer to the overall size of a piece of work. In this example of scale in art, the artist used scale to convey the sense of distance or depth between the girl and the home in the backdrop of the painting. Christina’s World, by Andrew Wyeth, was painted in 1948.

René Magritte’s painting, Les valeurs personnelles (Personal Values), was completed in 1952.

Hierarchical Scale

Hierarchical scale is a method employed in art, most commonly in sculpture and painting, in which the artist presents items with an artificial scale in order to demonstrate their importance or lack of value to the viewer. The artist uses scale manipulation to direct the viewer’s attention to the area where he or she wants it. It is commonly known that ancient Egyptian painters made extensive use of hierarchical scale in their work. In this example of hierarchical scale in art, the artist depicts the man as the largest (and hence most significant) and the kid as the tiniest (and therefore least important) (least important).

Late 18th Dynasty Egyptian, Nebamun hunting in the marshes, fragment of a scene from the tomb-chapel of Nebamun, around 1350 BCE Check out our blog post on proportion and scale in art for more more examples of scale in artwork!

Proportion in Art Resources

  • The Ultimate Collection of Proportion in Art
  • How Artists Depict Space
  • The Ultimate Collection of Proportion in Art
  • Artist Fernando Botero of Columbia is featured on Day 24 of Art Around the World in 30 Days. Design in Art: Scale and Proportion
  • Sophia.org: Design in Art: Scale and Proportion


Balance is a fundamental artistic element that refers to the distribution of weight in a composition. In sculpture and architecture, while physical weight is a consideration, the notion of balance is most typically used to refer to the apparent heaviness of shapes and forms in a piece of artwork. The balance of an artwork has an effect on the equality and tension of the composition, and it may give the work a sense of serenity or turmoil depending on the composition.

Symmetrical Balance

An artwork with symmetrical balance is well-balanced and looks even and stable. When one side of an artwork mirrors the other, it has absolute symmetry. When the symmetrical balance is not exact, it is called bilateral symmetry. In this example of symmetrical balance in art, each animal on the left has its equal counterpart on the right. The colors are not exact, but it is still considered symmetrical balance. American,Cutout of Animals, second quarter 19th century

Asymmetrical Balance

In certain parts, an artwork with asymmetrical balance is “heavier” or “lighter” than in others, and it appears unstable, which can make the spectator uneasy. Asymmetrical balance gives artworks a more dynamic appearance, and it frequently focuses the viewer’s attention to the composition’s key points. When the hefty black figure on the right is balanced with the curtain on the left, this is an example of asymmetrical balance in art, as seen here.

Changing the size or color of the curtain would throw the entire arrangement out of balance. 1871, Arrangement in Grey and Black No.1, painted by James Abbott McNeill Whistler.

Radial Balance

An artwork with radial balance is composed of a number of components that are organized around a focal component. An artwork’s circular focus point seems to spread outward from its forms and objects when it is composed in a radially balanced manner. It is possible to think about radial balance, as in the example of radial balancing below, as equal parts of a pie while working with radial balance. Around 1685, the Boscobel Oak in England was the site of the Charles II Charger. Are you looking for more instances of artistic balance?

Balance in Art Resources

  • The World’s Largest Collection of Artistic Balance
  • According to Smashing Magazine, the following design principles are important: compositional, symmetrical, and asymmetrical balance. Balance: The Fundamental Design Principles
  • Lifewire: The Fundamental Design Principles


One of the fundamental design principles is unity, which is also known as harmony, and it relates to the cohesion of a piece of artwork—how entire, consistent, and complete it looks to be. Unity in art is not always the recurrence of the same element over and over again; rather, it is the appealing arrangement of parts to form a harmonic composition, which is what we call compositional harmony. Botero achieves unity in his artwork by the use of subject matter, rhythm, and repetition of form, shape, and color.

Fernando Botero’s The Musicians was completed in 1991.

Unity in Art Resources

  • Exemplifications of Unity in Art
  • Natomas High School Design Department
  • Virtual Art Instructor: Teach harmony and unity through the medium of gaming


Emphasis, as a concept of art, refers to the part in a piece of art that commands the viewer’s attention and draws them in. It is frequently the first thing that a spectator notices. Artists emphasize their works of art by contrasting the aspects of the work, such as color and shape. Using the man in white as an example of emphasis in art, Goya draws the viewer’s attention to him by placing him in the center of the composition, dressing him in bright clothing, including many lines throughout the composition that point to the man, and making his emotional face one of the only faces shown.

Check out The Best Examples of Emphasis in Artpost for more inspiration!

Emphasis in Art Resources

  • The Ultimate Collection of Emphasis in Art
  • Sophia.org: Design in Art: Emphasis, Variety, and Unity
  • The Ultimate Collection of Emphasis in Art


Movement may be conceived of in two ways: the first relates to how an artist shows movement using the elements and principles of art, and the second refers to how an artist depicts movement without utilizing the elements and principles of art. The second method relates to the visual flow of an artwork, which is shown by the route taken by a viewer’s eyes while they look at the piece of art. Lines, edges, forms, and colors may all be used by the artist to guide our eyes around an artwork as if it were a map for our eyes to go through.

In art, movement is shown by the lines of the people and the lines of the billowing garments.

Movement in Art Resources

  • Art, Design, and Visual Thinking: Movement
  • Art About Love: Oskar Kokoschka’s The Bride of the Wind
  • Franz Marc’s The Fate of the Animals
  • Art About Life: Oskar Kokoschka’s The Bride of the Wind


The parts of a composition that are distinct from one another are referred to as variety. Variety adds aesthetic intrigue and excitement to a space. A lot of variation may make a piece of art appear cluttered or overpowering. When combined with unity, diversity provides the observer with a number of areas of interest.

Kandinsky combines a variety of lines, forms, values, and colors in this work of art to demonstrate the importance of diversity in art. Wassily Kandinsky’s Der Sturm (The Storm), published in Volume 10, Number 7, 1919.

Variety in Art Resources

  • Variety, harmony, and unity are the hallmarks of the Virtual Instructor.

Using the concepts of design examples to interact and interpret a work of art may be a very effective strategy. Don’t forget to download these free art worksheets to assist your pupils become more involved: Worksheets that are completely free

8 Free Art Appreciation Worksheets

You may get 8 free art appreciation worksheets, including two pages on the Elements and Principles of Art. Activities that may be used with practically any piece of art are available. Make it exciting for your kids to engage with art while they learn about it.

More Principles of Design Examples

More examples of the components and principles of art may be found in our series of elements of art examples, which can be found further down on this page.

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