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Elements of Design – Understanding the 7 Elements of Design

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Elements of Design – The design elements are the building blocks of what a visual artist or graphic designer uses to make a successful composition.

What Are the Elements of Design?

Design elements are the fundamental aspects of any visual design, including shape, color, space, form, line, value, and texture. Graphic designers use design elements to create an image that can convey a certain mood, draw the eye in a particular direction, or evoke several feelings. While the aspects of design form the basics of any image, designers also lean on the principles of design, which are a set of practices of working with the elements of design that make a composition look pleasing to the eye.

The Elements of Design

There are various graphic design elements to consider when creating any visual art, whether interior design, an advertisement, a logo, or web design. The essential elements of design are:


It helps establish a mood for your structure. When light waves strike an item and reflect the optic nerve in a human’s eyes, the sensation they observe is called color. Artists and designers use color to show and describe the subject. Designers use color to portray mood, depth, light, and point of view. Designers use the color wheel and the ideas of the color theory set of guidelines for mixing, combining, and manipulating colors to create color schemes.


The line refers to how two points in space connect.  Whether horizontal, diagonal, or vertical, lines can help direct the eye toward a specific end in your composition. You can also create texture by incorporating different lines, such as curved or patterned lines, instead of just straight lines.


In design, value refers to lightness or darkness. The importance of color is often visualized in a gradient, which displays a series of variations on one hue, arranged from the lightest to the darkest. Artists can use the various values of color to create the illusion of mass and volume in their work.


Making proper space can help others view your design as you intended. White space, or negative space, is the space between or around the focal point of an image. However, Positive space is the space your subject matter takes up in your composition. The spacing of your design is essential because a too crowded layout can overwhelm the viewer’s eye.


A profile is a two-dimensional area surrounded by an outline in its most basic form. Graphic artists can use other elements, including line, color, value, and shadow, to give the appearance of a three-dimensional shape. There are three types of profiles: organic conditions which occur naturally in the world, geometric shapes which are angular and mathematically consistent, and abstract shapes that represent things in nature but aren’t perfectly representative.


Form pertains to how a shape or physical configuration occupies space. Instead of creating a layout through a three-dimensional physical shape, designers create a paper on a flat surface by using light, shadow, the appearance of an object’s contours, negative space, and the surrounding entities around the subject matter.


The texture is one of the design elements used to represent how an object appears or feels. Tactile texture is physical touch, whether rough, smooth, or ribbed. On the other hand, visual texture refers to the imagined feel of the illustrated texture. Which can create more visual interest and a heightened sensory experience.

What Are the Differences between the Elements and Principles of Design?

However, the elements of design refer to the basic building blocks of any composition. The design principles refer to the features used, like the symmetrical and asymmetrical balance, pattern, emphasis, movement, and also, proportion. Furthermore, the design principles are cardinal rules and techniques for composing the various design elements.

What is an Essential Element of Design?

The most excellent essential design element is the line. With a simple drawing, a line is regarded as just a mere stroke of a pen, but in the field of study of design, a line connects any two points. Lines effectively separate or create a space between other elements or provide a central focus.

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