Chapter 8-Principles of Design
Principles Of Design
Principles Of Design
• The Principles Of Design help artists
organize compositions so they
• The main Principles are Unity, Variety,
Emphasis, Rhythm & Movement,
Balance, Pattern, and Proportion.
• A principle of design related to the sense of wholeness
that results from the successful combination of the
elements of an artwork.
• All elements work together to communicate certain ideas
Proximity Similarity & Continuation
Unity is affected by Proximity, Similarity, and
• Proximity- the tendency to see things that are
overlapped, touching or close together in groups
• Similarity- making things similar to each other
such as color, value, texture, shape or form
• Continuation- creating a flow of vision from one
object to another
Creates unity by stressing the similarities of separate but
related parts of the composition.
Gustav Klimt Tree of Life
Introducing differences in the elements of a
composition to offset unity and add interest to an
Emphasis makes part of the work more dominant over
the other parts, creating more attention than anything
else in the composition. The dominate element is
usually a focal point and contributes to unity by
suggesting that other elements are subordinate to it.
There is an element or combination of elements that create(s) a focal
point for the viewer.
Emphasis can be created through contrast, isolation, location,
convergence/lead lines or the unusual.
Contrast refers to the degree of
difference between elements, most
commonly value, color and texture.
Contrast is the key to a welldefined artwork such as The Girl
with a Pearl Earring by Jan
Isolation means putting
one object alone, apart
from all the others as in
Location refers to placing
objects near the center of
the space, causing them to
be noticed first as in
Odilon Redon’s Red Boat
with a Blue Sail. Watch
out though; this can be
Convergence / Lead lines are
implied or actual lines that draw
your eye to a specific area or the
composition as in Vincent Van
Gogh’s Café Terrace at Night.
The unusual refers to placing
something unexpected in the
composition to capture and hold the
viewer’s attention as in David
Alfero Siqueiros’ Echo of a Scream.
• A principle that refers to ways of combining
elements that often repeat to produce the
appearance of movement in an artwork.
• Repetition and movement indicate rhythm in the
• It may also be achieved through alternation or
progression of an element.
• Movement is used
to create the look
and feeling of
• Most movement in
art is implied,
kinetic art, actually
move in space.
the trickery of
• The principle of
design referring to
the arrangement of
visual elements to
create stability in
• The balance of the
art is even and
equalized in all
Different Types Of Balance
Informal balance in Joan Miró’s
Landscape (The Hare). The large
but thin curvilinear object on the
left is balanced by the smaller
but heavier shapes on the right.
along a central
vertical axis in
Flower Day and
the top center of
The artist considers the visual weight of all the elements and places
them accordingly, with no consideration of an axis.
Identical on both sides of central axis,
in this case, vertical.
Almost identical on both sides
Elements radiate out from a
The repetition or
elements in a
• Proportion is the
between the parts
to one another
and to the whole.
Refers to the size relationships of parts to one another and to the
The Golden Mean
A shape divided into two parts so that the ratio of the smaller
part to the larger part is the same ratio of the larger part to the
Exaggeration and distortion are deviations from expected or
Realistic proportion in
Marisol’s The Family
and in Duane Hanson’s
exaggeration in Amedeo
Modigliani’s Head and in
Pablo Picasso’s Three