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7 Elements of Design

July 4, 2017


Creating beautiful design is about more than inspiration or a great idea, it’s about understanding the fundamentals of the subject. Although it’s possible to spend years studying the nuances of design and the many varying takes on how to be successful at it, there are a handful, or two, of basic elements that every designer should know before beginning any project. Anyone can utilize these following seven tips to create professional looking pieces, and  who intends to earn money from the endeavor must know them. Rules were made to be broken, of course, but you have to know what they are first.




The first and most basic element of design is that of the line. In drawing, a line is the stroke of the pen or pencil but in  design, it’s any two connected points. Lines are useful for dividing space and drawing the eye to a specific location. For example, think about how a magazine uses lines to separate content, headlines and side panels.


Here are a few examples of what we traditionally think of when we think of lines:





Color is one of the most obvious elements of design, for both the user and the designer. It can stand alone, as a background, or be applied to other elements, like lines, shapes, textures. Color creates a mood within the piece and tells a story about the space. Every color says something different, and combinations can alter that impression further.




Shapes, geometric or organic, add interest. Shapes are defined by boundaries, such as a lines or color, and they are often used to emphasize a portion of the interior. Everything is ultimately a shape, so you must always think in terms of how the various elements of your design are creating shapes, and how those shapes are interacting.





Form Objects having three dimensions (3D), or height, width, and depth.  You can walk around a form. Examples of form can include cubes, cylinders, and spheres.




Negative space is one of the most commonly underutilized and misunderstood aspects of designing for the page. The parts of the site that are left blank, whether that’s white or some other color, help to create an overall image. Use negative space to create shapes as you would any other element.



It’s counter-intuitive to think about texture when the piece isn’t ever going to be touched. Design do rely on the look and impression of texture on the screen, however. Textures can create a more three-dimensional appearance on this two-dimensional surface. It also helps build an immersive world.





Value The lightness or darkness of an object. The degree of lightness or darkness. The effect of light and shade in a picture. Value vocabulary includes tint (adding white to make something lighter), shade (adding  black to make something darker) and hue (the true color). Shadow, highlight, and light source are also some vocabulary words to consider with this element of design.




Use these 7 Elements of design to create your master piece.




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