Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Design principles

Introduction :  In every design or work of art there are some or all of the design elements – varieties of line, positive and negative shape, there-dimensional form, occupied and unoccupied space, colour, value and texture.  The manner in which these elements are used and combined determines the quality of a piece of work.  Thoughtfully balancing, moving, repeating, emphasizing and contrasting the design elements can achieve a unified piece of artwork or design.

Balance: Balance is a sense of stability when applied to opposing visual attractions or forces.  There is a natural desire for balance, and in nature balance is ever-present.
In formal balance, the design elements are almost equally distributed.  A design or composition that is divided in half so that one side is the mirror image of the other is said to have symmetrical balance.  In radial balance, the design elements radiate from a central point as the spokes of a wheel or the natural form of a daisy.
Asymmetry uses informal balance; a centre line or point is ignored, with the design elements being balanced visually, rather than in a symmetrical manner.
The position of any particular shape in a composition contributes to its strength.  A shape in the exact centre of a picture plane is at perfect equilibrium.  Moving the same shape off-centre can increase or decrease its importance.
In any textile design, each shape affects everything else.  Exciting balance or imbalance is usually only achieved after frequent arranging and rearranging.  The study of composition has been a fascination for many artists and designers.  The Pointillist artist Seurat was as equally absorbed in the study of composition as in the study of light.
Movement: Movement and the portrayal of movement have always fascinated artists and designers.  By careful arrangement of the design elements, the illusion of movement can be created.  In optical art and designs the sensation of movement may deeply affect the viewer’s responses.  Some paintings can provoke dizziness by making it difficult for the eyes to focus on a central point.
Associated with movement is time:  Pictures and patterns are capable of holding our attention for varying amounts of time.  Some designs may be so subtle that these are barely noticed, if at all, by the viewer, while others can hold attention for much longer periods.
Repetition:  Repetition occurs when elements that have something in common are repeated.  When a design consists of shapes that are exactly alike, repeated in a uniform and regular manner, then that design tends to seem more formal.  By varying the shapes and the elements within a design repeat can hold designs together.
Repeated shapes make patterns.  Many textile designs, because of the method of manufacture, will automatically repeat.
Emphasis/contrast:  Emphasis calls attention to important areas of design and subdues everything else on the picture plane.  By placing emphasis on certain areas, artists and designers create centres of interest that cause our eyes to return there again and again.
Bold details, unusual textures and bright colours are more prominent than more subdued features.  Often the left side and the upper part of a picture attract our attention first; this is particularly so for those whose language is written from left to right.
Similarity of elements in a design often leads to monotony.  Contrasting elements tend to stand out.  Elements that contrast strongly stand in opposition to one another – light against dark, large against small, round against square or smooth against rough.
Unity:  Unity exists when all the elements in a design work together harmoniously.  In a unified design, each element plays an equally important part.

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