Design Thinking

Elements of Design and Fine Art

When I was in high school my art teacher would have us recite over and over the elements of fine art. It was taught to me that you should have the foundations solid. I realize that he was teaching us how to see using the elements of fine art and design. Let’s review the seven elements.

  • Line

  • Shape

  • Texture

  • Form

  • Value

  • Space and

  • Color

A line is a series of points drawn together in a straight path. A line is also defined as a point moving in space. Lines may build up to be two-or three-dimensional, descriptive, implied, or abstract.

A shape is an element that is two-dimensional, flat, or limited to height and width.  A shape is an enclosed space, the boundaries are defined by the other elements of art (i.e.: lines, colors, values, textures, etc.). Shapes are limited to two dimensions: length and width.

Texture is an element that refers to the way things feel, or look as if they might feel if touched. It gives a perception between two-dimentional and three-dimentional space.

Form is an element that is three-dimensional and encloses volume. It includes height, width AND depth (as in a cube, a sphere, a pyramid, or a cylinder). Form may also be free flowing. When drawing, value is used to define the shape.

Value is 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. Value is also defined as gradation, or gradient.

Space An element of art by which positive and negative areas are defined or a sense of depth achieved in a work of art .

Color An element of art made up of three properties: hue, value, and intensity.

 A Hue is the name of color

Value helps determine hue’s lightness and darkness (a color’s value changes when white or black is added).

Intensity shows the quality of brightness and purity. (Not mixed with anything else) High intensity is equal to saying the color is strong.

The elements and principles of design are the building blocks used to create a beautiful body work of art. These elements can be seen as the things needed to make up a drawing, a painting, design etc. All pieces of work – be it good or bad – will contain some if not all of the aforementioned elements of art and design.

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