PROJECT 2 Research

The 9 Principles of Design

  1. Scale
  2. Variety
  3. Balance
  4. Contrast
  5. Rhythm
  6. Harmony
  7. Dominance
  8. Proportion
  9. Pattern

1. Scale

Scale is the size of elements against each other. When describing scale, it should be in relation to something else (e.g. Reality, viewer)

Some words to describe scale:

Large, small, miniature, monumental

Boy by Ron Mueck

Ron Mueck, Boy, 1999, Mixed Media, 490 x 490 x 240 cm

Here, the humans are miniature in relation to the sculpture. And, the sculpture itself is monumental as compared to the humans.


Duane Hanson, Queenie II, 1988, Polychrome Bronze, with accessories, life-size

This hyper realist sculpture by Duane Hanson is life-size, creating an illusion of reality.


2. Variety

Variety is the individuality to arouse the viewer’s curiosity and hold one’s attention, visual contrast, isolation of elements and images.

Some words to describe variety is:

Visual interest is created by… or The change in texture creates variety…

Compostion with RYB by Piet Mondrian

Composition with Red, Yellow and Blue by Piet Mondrian, 1921, Oil on Canvas, 39 x 35 cm

For Mondrian, he used a variety of lines (horizontal and vertical), shapes (square and rectangle) and primary colours (red, blue and yellow) to create a visually appealing design.


3. Balance

Balance is the distribution of the visual weight of objects, colors, texture, and space.

Symmetrical balance – ‘mirror image’

Asymmetrical balance – different components positioned in the same manner on either sides of the axis

Radial balance – elements are arranged around a central point

Day and Night by M.C. Escher

M.C. Escher, Day and Night, 1938, Woodcut in two colours

In this work, the artist has employed approximate symmetrical balance, whereby there are different components positioned in the same manner on either sides of the axis.

A Thousand Years by Damien Hirst

Damien Hirst, A Thousand Years, 1990, Glass, Steel, Silicone, rubber, painted MDF, insect-o-cutter, cow’s head, blood, flies, maggots, 2075 x 4000 x 2150 mm

Here, the artist use asymmetrical balance, where different objects are placed in each panels.


4.  Contrast

Contrast is the placing of elements with opposing characteristics, totally unrelated.

Space – filled vs empty, 2D vs 3D, Near vs Far

Pattern – Left vs Right, Isolated vs Grouped

Form – Single vs Complex, Whole vs Broken

Structure – Organised vs Chaotic, Mechanic vs Hand-drawn

Size – Big vs Small

Texture – Smooth vs Rough, Sharp vs Dull

Density – Transparent vs Opaque, Thick vs Thin

Girl with a Boat by Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso, Girl with a Boat, 1938, Oil on canvas

In this work, Picasso created contrast in forms with the use of geometric, angular shapes vs curves. Also, a contrast in colour with black and white.


5. Rhythm

Rhythm is the sense of movement created by repeating elements.

Wave of Kanagawa by Katsushika

Katsushika Hokusai, Under the wave of Kanawaga, 1829-33, Coloured woodblock print, 26.7 x 38.1 cm

6. Harmony

Harmony is the feeling of unity between all parts of the work of art, which creates a sense of completeness.

Artist and Model by Liu Kang

Liu Kang, Artist and Model, 1954

Liu Kang created a harmonious atmosphere with use of light colours, with no or little dark colours.

7. Dominance

Dominance is the part of the design that catches the viewer’s attention.

The Treachery of Images by Rene Magritte

Rene Magritte, The Treachery of Images, 1929


8. Proportion

Proportion is the unity created when all parts (sizes, amounts, or number) are in relation to each other.

Proportion of Human, Da Vinci

Leonardo Da Vinci, Proportion of the Human Figure, 1485-90, Pen and ink

Golden section

Mathematician Leonardo Fibonacci- Fibonacci series

Spiral Stair

Rose 3

Relationship of spiraling curve found in nature

9. Pattern

Pattern is created by repeating designs motifs or elements.

Self-Portrait by Chuck CLose

Chuck Close, Self-Portrait, 2004-2005

Patterns are created with the use of organic shapes within squares.

Golconda by Rene Magritte

Rene Magritte, Golconda, 1953, Oil on canvas, 81 x 100 cm

By repeating the man, the artist creates an overwhelming feeling/ effect. There is also a sense of movement created with the dropping of the man as it reminds us of raindrops.

PROJECT 1 Documentation


1 Fragile

The word ‘Fragile’ means something that is weak, brittle and breakable. For example glass. For this strip, i experimented with stamping crumpled newspaper and plastics to create to create the shattered/cracked glass effect.





2 Psychotic

According to the dictionary, ‘Psychotic’ means insane, mad and lunatic. Thus, i used repeated and intersecting curves in a messy and disorganized way to depict that mad state of mind.



3 Anxious

‘Anxious’ suggests nervousness and worry. When i feel anxious, i tend to move and touch things unconsciously. Therefore, i used my hands to create this work. For the first strip, it depicts the anxious heartbeat pattern.

The second one is created by stamping my fingerprints in different directions to show the unease mind when one is anxious.

Lastly, i stamped using the sides of my hands leaving spaces between each stamps to suggest the empty mind when one is anxious, being unable to think of anything.

Surprisingly, the lines on one’s hands have interesting curves and sudden intersecting lines, which depict that disrupted thought process.



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4 Lyrical

This emotion has the meaning lyrical, song-like and musical. To express this, i used the wet on wet technique of watercolours to allow the natural flow of the colours on water. For the first strip, i drew line strokes on the wet layer of plain water. The second one, i dip paints onto the wet layer, allowing a blooming effect.




5 Sensual

The emotion ‘sensual’ means arousing the gratification of senses and physicals. Some objects that have this ability are flowers, scented candles, perfumes and herbs. At first, i tried to draw flowers like lavender and lilies, but turned out being too representational. Thus, i simplified them into simple lines as branches and little squares and triangles as petals. The background is created by spraying paint, similar to the action of spraying perfume.




6 Ambiguous

The word ambiguous suggest a vague and unclear meaning. Something that is arguable and has more than one interpretation.  For this strip, i used the salting technique. Salt is sprinkled onto the layer of watercolour while it is still wet. After the paint dried, simply sweep off the salt. Whats left is the textures shown below. The unclear and unpredictable movement of the water caused by the salt created a coral like textures with dots, a very cloudy and sparse effect.





7 Spontaneous

‘Spontaneous’ suggest energetic, active and play. Hence, i used lines and shapes to depict a sense of movement. For the first strip, i used a variety of shapes in different scales and directions to suggest spontaneity. For the second one, i used straight lines to create a sense of movement in space.



8 Nonsensical

This just means no meaning or sense, something that is illogical. I used the concept of automatism to create random scribbles. Also, i tried the drip and splash paint effect which was inspired by Jackson Pollack, whose artwork was based on element of chance and emotion at the point of work.


Jackson Pollock ‘Number 8’



9 Embarrassed

When i am ‘Embarrassed’ , i would naturally want to hide and leave as little trace as possible. Thus, for the first strip, i created little quotations, to show the little traces. Also, i drew springy lines that curl in, to suggest the mentality to hide.



10 Awkward

When one feels awkward, they are unsure what to do and have strings of overlapping thoughts. Thus, i i created strings of intersecting lines with shades in the shapes enclosed, to show the uncertainty as to what to do.



11 Indecisive

The word ‘indecisive’ suggest something that is inconclusive and undecided, being unable to arrive at a definite answer. Thus, i have used lines to create a maze-like structure to show the inner thought process of finding an answer. The second one depicts the layers of thoughts that one has when unable to arrive at a decision.



12 Systematic

‘Systematic’ means methodical and organised. To express this emotion, i referenced grids,maps and graphs. Also, i took inspiration from the artist Piet Mondrian, who strongly emphasize on geometry and orderly,  clean design.


Piet Mondrian ‘Broadway Boogie Woogie’



13 Bizarre

‘Bizarre’ suggest something unconventional and strange. The first strip, i have created an impression of the internal organs, something really unexpected and disgusting. For the second one, i used a mixture of random curve, straight lines and variety of shapes to give a bizarre feel.



14 Aggressive

The word ‘Aggressive’ means forceful and assertive. Actions like cutting, stabbing, burning and bombing are aggressive actions. The first strip is created by aggressively drawing straight lines using charcoal.

The second one, i scraped out the paper first, then apply a layer of watercolours over.

The final one is created by rubbing ink onto paper with tissues then throwing lines of markers onto it.



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15 Turbulent

‘Turbulent’ depicts conflict, disorder and confusion. Examples are tornado and tsunami. The first strip gives an impression of a tornado with the expanding and spiraling curves from a point as well as the dirtied background using charcoal. The second one shows a more abstract version of the violent movement during conflicts with the overlapping s and c curves.



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16 Exhausted

The emotion ‘Exhausted’ means something that is used and worn out. Something that is spend or depleted. To present that meaning, the gauze is stretched, expanded and pulled into threads. The first sample was one with only holes on the gauze. The second with threads pulled out. To avoid a consistent and methodical pattern, the final strip has uneven holes on the left and slowly towards the right the pulled out threads appear.





17 Sloven

‘Sloven’ means untidy and careless. The first strip gives the impression of untidiness with random scribbles, The second one is created by smudging and rubbing the charcoal with hands.



18 Distracted

One is off focused when distracted. For this emotion i used a line or dot to represent the focus. The first one show dots slowly being disperse to suggest the wondering of thoughts. The second one depicts line off the dot, to show the sudden deviation from focus. The third one has a line of focus and waves of jagged and curves to suggest the surrounding distractions.