principles of design

what makes a design visually appealing?



– distribution of the visual weight of objects, colors, texture, and space. If the design was a scale, these elements should be balanced to make a design feel stable
symmetrical balance: the elements used on one side of the design are similar to those on the other side
asymmetrical balance: the sides are different but still look balanced
radial balance: the elements are arranged around a central point and may be similar



– part of the design that catches the viewer’s attention, counteracting confusion and monotony
– usually the artist will make one area stand out by contrasting it with other areas. The area could be different in size, color, texture, shape, etc.



– the juxtaposition of opposing elements. The major contrast in a painting should be located at the center of interest
– too much contrast scattered throughout a painting can destroy unity and make a work difficult to look at
in color: opposite colors on the color wheel (red/green, blue/orange)
in tone or value: light / dark
in direction: horizontal / vertical



– the visually satisfying effect of combining similar, related elements
– example: adjacent colours on the colour wheel, similar shapes etc



– the path the viewer’s eye takes through the work of art, often to focal areas
– can be directed along lines, edges, shape, and color within the work of art



– when one or more elements of design are used repeatedly to create a feeling of organized movement and create rhythm



– the feeling of harmony between all parts of the work of art, which creates a sense of completeness



– can add interest and movement to a shape
gradation of size and direction produce linear perspective
gradation of color from warm to cool and tone from dark to light produce aerial perspective
gradation from dark to light will cause the eye to move along a shape



research: J. Paul Getty | John Lovett
all images are taken from the internet

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