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Visual Elements of Design

Element

Definition

Composition

The way different


parts of an image
How image is put
are put together
What is main
together. Where
draws the
figure? How are
things are placed
viewers attention
other figures
in relationship to
to some parts
placed in relation
one another and
more than
to main figure?
to the space of
others. It also
What is left out?
the canvas.
creates tone,
mood and
meaning.

Elements of
Design

Which elements
of design are
The different
Meaning comes
most important
aspects the artist
from what the
in this piece
can use to put
artist uses and
(color, line,
together the
also what they
texture, shape,
image.
don't use.
form, value, size,
text, movement)

Focal Point

What is the focal


point? What
Where your
elements of
attention is drawn design does the
to in the picture artist use to
create the focal
point?

Color

What colors are


All of the colors as
used? How do
well as black,
Color can create
these colors
white and
meaning by
affect the tone,
neutrals.
creating moods,
mood and
Monocromatic
highlighting
meaning of the
means using one
particular parts
image? Are
color.
of the image,
colors used in
Complementary
connecting
predictable or
means using
aspects of the
unpredictable
colors opposite
image, or by
ways (example:
one another on
being symbolic.
predictable is red
the color wheel
for danger)

Line

actual lines in
picture or lines
created by the
placement of
other objects

Key Questions Why important

How do lines
draw your
attention
towards or away
from certain
parts of the
picture? How are

Understanding
the focal point
helps you
understand the
meaning of the
picture.

Artists use lines


to draw your
attention to the
focal point.

Element

Definition

Key Questions Why important


different

Texture

Texture is how
Where is texture
rough or smooth
in the image and
something is, or
Texture links
how does this
the pattern it has.
images to real
texture create an
Texture can be
objects and the
expectation in
real on 3
use of senses
the audience of
dimensional art,
other than sight.
a particular
or represented on
touch sensation?
2 dimensional art.

Shape

The way in which


the artist uses
circles, squares,
rectangles, ovals
and other shapes
in the art.

How are shapes


used in the art?
Where does
shape, or
relationships
between shapes
help your eye to
focus?

Our eyes tend to


focus on familiar
shapes and see
shapes in two
dimentional art
through shading
and use of light.

Form

Where has the


artist used
How light and
shading or light
shading
to highlight
techniques make some aspect of
a 2 dimensional the image? Does
object look like it some part of the
has 3 dimensions. image stand out
as having 3
dimensions?

Form can
contribute to
making an image
seem more real,
and also to add
importance to a
part of the
picture.

Value

How are light


Value can be
and dark used in
used along with
this picture? Is
Degree of light
color. Extreme
there a symbolic
and dark in
changes in value
use of light and
different parts of
createst contrast
dark? Does the
the picture.
which often is
artist use light or
used to provide
dark to highlight
meaning.
the focal point?

Size

Why did the


artist choose this
Size can refer to
size for the
Variation in the
the overall size of
piece? What is size of shapes
the image and
the meaning of and lines
also the relative
the difference
indicates relative
size of items in
between sizes of significance.
the image.
elements in the
image?

Symbolic

Specific parts of

Are any of the

Symbols draw on

Element

Definition

Key Questions Why important

Elements

the design which aspects of this


cultural
have symbolic or piece symbolic?
meanings which
historical meaning Does the artist
can work
(such as a cross intend to use the
differently for
for Christianity, or symbolism
different
triangles for the directly or to
audiences.
Trinity).
invert it?