The elements of design are the visual components that make up art. There are 8 elements of design:
An element of art defined by a point moving in space. Lines can be horizontal, vertical, or diagonal; straight or curved; thick or thin.
Horizontal lines: calm, passive, quiet
Vertical lines: rigid, firm, awake
Diagonal Lines: active, busy
Curved Lines: fluid movement, can be calm or rapid
A line is a dot out for a walk. —Paul Klee
An element of art that is two-dimensional, flat, or limited to height and width. Shapes can be geometric, like squares and circles; or organic, like free-form or natural shapes.
An element of art that is three-dimensional and encloses volume; includes height, width AND depth (as in a cube, a sphere, a pyramid, or a cylinder). Form may also be free flowing. Volume (three-dimensionality) can be simulated in a two-dimensional work (like a painting).
Space is the area between and around objects. The space around objects is often called negative space; negative space has shape. Space can also refer to the feeling of depth. Real space is three-dimensional; in visual art, when we create the feeling or illusion of depth, we call it space.
Color is light reflected off of objects.
Color has three main characteristics:
Hue (the name of the color, such as red, green, blue, etc.)
Value (how light or dark it is)
Intensity (how bright or dull it is)
White is pure light; black is the absence of light.
Primary colors are the only true colors (red, blue, and yellow). All other colors are mixes of primary colors.
Secondary colors are two primary colors mixed together (green, orange, violet).
Intermediate colors, sometimes called tertiary colors, are made by mixing a primary and secondary color together. Some examples of intermediate colors are yellow green, blue green, and blue violet.
Complementary colors are located directly across from each other on the color wheel (an arrangement of colors along a circular diagram to show how they are related to one another). Complementary pairs contrast because they share no common colors. For example, red and green are complements, because green is made of blue and yellow. When complementary colors are mixed together, they neutralize each other to make brown.
Monochromatic colors contain a variety of lights and darks of the same hue.
The lightness or darkness of tones or colors. White is the lightest value; black is the darkest. The value halfway between these extremes is called middle gray.
Texture is the surface quality that can be seen and felt. Textures can be rough or smooth, soft or hard. Textures do not always feel the way they look; for example, a drawing of a porcupine may look prickly, but if you touch the drawing, the paper is still smooth.
MOTION is the design element that operates in the fourth dimension - time.
Art exists in time as well as space. Time implies change and movement; movement implies the passage of time. Movement and time, whether actual or an illusion, are crucial elements in art although we may not be aware of it.
Movement is the process of relocation of objects in space over time. We can speak of movement as literal or compositional, meaning an art work may incorporate actual motion; that is, the artwork itself moves in some way. Or it may incorporate the illusion of, or implied movement.