7 Elements of Design: Everything You Should Know (2022)

What does it take to have a great design? Is it all about creativity? We have another answer: it’s a combination of creativity and good planning. To plan a great work of art, you need to first know the basic elements and principles of design.

The elements of design are the tools you use to create a work of art. Knowing the fundamental elements and applying them to your piece with a clear understanding will help you make it powerful enough to convey a message.

So, what are the main elements that you need to know before starting working on your blank canvas? Check out these seven basic elements of design that can take your work to another level.

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  1. Form

Form refers to the positive element over the space of your work. Together with space, it creates a three-dimensional effect. The 3D objects include pyramids, cubes, and other abstract forms. You can make a 3D effect by using shadows, color, and overlaid objects.

It’s sometimes interchangeably used with another design element – shape, however, they’re slightly different. The form is mostly 3D and more realistic, while the shape is two-dimensional and flat.

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  1. Shape

When a line encloses an area, or when other visual elements are combined, we get a shape. Ultimately, everything around us is a shape one way or another, but for a designer, they are more important since they are the root of the most powerful logos.

A shape can be geometric or organic. The geometric shapes are precise and include shapes like triangles, squares, etc. Organic shapes have a more natural look with a curvy flow. They are asymmetrical and irregular elements and are associated with the natural world.

Creating a shape for your design piece demands attention and knowledge since they express a mood or convey a message based on their form, color, texture, and other attributes. For example, sharper shapes like squares are more masculine, while triangles direct the attention of the viewer to a specific point. And, abstract shapes are considered the basic shapes that provide building blocks for any kind of design composition.

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  1. Line

Line is one of the basic elements of design made of points. Lines connect any two dots and can evoke various moods based on their texture, direction, look, and weight. A straight line, for example, is more balanced and structured, while a curved line is more dynamic and artistic.

There are different types of lines: vertical, horizontal, diagonal, lines, and curved lines. A line can be smooth, rough, broken, thick, or thin, and can have color, texture, and even movement.

It’s usually used to divide the content of your design or website, to frame a composition, and well… it does have many options for usage.

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  1. Color

Color is an important element of design that shouldn’t be neglected. It gives a certain feeling and personality to your piece and can be applied to any of the other visual elements. To use this design element right, and choose the colors best suitable for it, you have to at least get acquainted with the color theory, learn how to use the color wheel, how to combine multiple colors, and what color schemes evoke certain feelings and emotions.

For example, blue usually evokes emotions of tranquility, trust, and stability, while red is a louder color expressing passion, excitement, and sometimes anger. So, knowing the psychology of colors will help you decide whether you should go with red, blue, or maybe yellow and what colors you should mix with them for the best result.

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Besides being an important addition to the other elements of design, color can absolutely stand alone on its own. Design compositions made up of color and text, are simpler and have a greater impact if you’re trying to make a point.

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Another aspect you should pay attention to when working with color is its characteristics:

Hue – It’s the name of a color in its purest form. For example, red, green, magenta are all pure colors.

Saturation – It’s the intensity of a color. It makes colors more vibrant or more muted.

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Tint – It’s the intensity of white in a color. If the level of tint is higher, the color will be lighter.

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Shade – It’s the intensity of black in a color. The higher the level of shade is, the darker and moody the color will be.

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Value – It’s the lightness or darkness of a color. Lighter colors have a higher value than darker ones since they are closer to white. In design, it’s used to create emphasis.

By using different tone values for your objects, you can create more emphasis and movement. The value changes of the objects of your design create contrast, which we also often use in photography.

And finally, your design can have one of these two color systems – CMYK or RGB. To choose the right one for your art, you need to first analyze where it’ll be used.

Cyan, magenta, yellow, black (CMYK) are the four basic colors used in printing, so if your design is going to have a digital version, it’s the best option for it.

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The red, green, blue (RGB) combo is the best choice for digital designs. After finishing your design, the colors won’t change once you post them online for people to view on screen.

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  1. Texture

Visual texture refers to the appearance and quality of a surface, suggesting what it’s made of. Just like shape, almost everything around us has texture and we can feel it both with a touch and sight. It can make your line, shape, or form soft, rough as a stone, fluffy, etc.

Of course, we can’t actually feel the texture of a digital design, however, just by looking at it we can experience the feeling. It breathes realism and visual value into the objects used in your design and can give them a 3D effect.

However, do be careful with the texture choice of your graphic design. Don’t choose a texture that’s irrelevant to your design, or it won’t have any effect on the viewer.

Say, you’re making a design for a flower shop, you can’t choose a darker and wooden texture for your objects. Colorful and soft textures are more relevant.

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Also, it might not be a quite good idea to mix multiple textures in one single design. It will be too much for the eye and make the viewer confused as to where to look first.

  1. Typography

The text, the words you add in your design play a huge role in making it a success, but the way you put them – their style, play as much of a great role. This makes typography one of the most important graphic and web design elements. It is the actual carrier of your message and the mood creator.

You can set the tone of your design using typography alone, and help the viewer realize what it is – an announcement about a serious cause or about a cute and fun event.

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For example, Serif typefaces are more official, while Script typefaces are more creative and less official. So, using them with relatable themes will help your design have a greater effect.

Typography also creates a visual hierarchy in a design, by telling the reader where to start and where to go. You can do that by choosing different characteristics for your text, such as size, color, height, and weight.

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  1. Space

Of course, it’s important what designers add to their web and graphic design, but what they don’t add is equally important. Simply put, space is the vacant area surrounding a shape. It helps to highlight the focal point of a design, simplify its readability, and make it pretty for the eye, without going overboard.

White space gives breathing space to design elements and helps to improve the visual hierarchy, the way the eyes navigate through your design.

Negative space refers to the area surrounding the design elements that forms an interesting shape to enhance the design. The negative space helps to define and highlight the positive space.

The right balance of negative and positive space makes the composition complete and helps to create visual interest.

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Sometimes less is more, and sometimes less is everything, so space makes sure everything is where it’s supposed to be on your design. It highlights the important elements and makes it easier for the viewer to catch the main message of your digital design.


So these were the seven basic elements of design – form, shape, line, color, texture, typography, and space. These various elements can make your piece successful when used right. To do that, you’ll need to practice, experiment, and learn the rules of applying them, known as the principles of design.

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A beautiful design is a mix of imagination and planning, so plan your design, let your creativity fly, and if necessary, later distort the rules slightly with class and confidence to create harmony. However, don’t forget that to break the rules, you have to know them well first.

Excited to create your next design piece, but don’t have enough time and energy? Click the button below to choose a template from the Renderfoest Graphic Maker and edit it.

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What are the 7 elements of design quizlet? ›

The design elements are line, shape, space, form, value, scale, texture, and color.

What are the 7 elements and 8 principles of design? ›

These are line, shape, color, value, form, texture, and space. The principles of art represent how the artist uses the elements of art to create an effect and to help convey the artist's intent. The principles of art and design are balance, contrast, emphasis, movement, pattern, rhythm, and unity/variety.

What is the most powerful element of design? ›

Lines. Lines are the most seamless and most powerful elements of design. They have a vast spectrum of functions and purposes. We use them to separate and organize space, outline and contour objects, emphasize certain elements, draw attention, and so forth.

What is the 7 elements of design? ›

The elements of design are the fundamental aspects of any visual design which include shape, color, space, form, line, value, and texture.

What are the 7 universal design principles? ›

Universal Design Principles
  • Equitable Use. The design is useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities. ...
  • Flexibility in Use. ...
  • Simple and Intuitive Use. ...
  • Perceptible Information. ...
  • Tolerance for Error. ...
  • Low Physical Effort. ...
  • Appropriate Size and Space for Approach and Use.

What are the 7 elements of art and 7 principles of design? ›

The 7 principles of art and design are balance, rhythm, pattern, emphasis, contrast, unity and movement. Use the elements of art and design – line, shape/form, space, value, colour and texture – to create a composition as a whole.

Which element of art is defined by a point in space? ›

An element of art defined by a point moving in space. Line. may be two-or three-dimensional, descriptive, implied, or abstract.

Which element of design has height and width but no depth? ›

SHAPE: A two-dimensional closed form or plane. A shape can have any contour, height, and width, but no depth. A shape has mass or area defined by its edges.

Why is it important for you to know the elements and principles of arts? ›

First and most importantly, a person cannot create art without utilizing at least a few of them. Secondly, knowing what the elements of art are, it enables us to describe what an artist has done, analyse what is going on in a particular piece and communicate our thoughts and findings using a common language.

What are design elements PDF? ›

Elements of design are the basic units of a visual image, they include space, line, balance, color, and shape. The elements also compliment each other.

Why do you think it is important to put emphasis on an artwork? ›

Why is using emphasis in art important? Using emphasis in art is important because it communicates the artist's message to the viewer. While artists often wish for their viewers to see their artwork as a whole, they may also consider a specific element to be the most important aspect of the piece.

What is the purpose of design elements? ›

The elements of design are the parts that define the visual, the tools and components that a person uses to create a composition. In other words, they represent the base of graphic design. The principles of design, on the other hand, are all about how a person uses the elements to create a visual and convey a message.

What makes design successful? ›

Care and accuracy in the design process show respect towards the user.” LMD gives careful consideration to each decision we make about speed, context, content, size, layout, hierarchy, placement, font, accessibility, and color. 4) Good design is innovative. Marrying form and function is an absolute.

What makes a good design? ›

Good design is a concept defined by industrial designer Dieter Rams's principles: It makes a product useful and understandable, is innovative, aesthetic, unobtrusive, honest, long-lasting, thorough to the last detail, environmentally friendly, and involves as little design as possible.

What are the elements of design mark all answers that apply? ›

What are the Elements of Design?
  • Line. Line creates division and hierarchy within a design, and can help direct a reader's eye towards specific information or a chosen focal point. ...
  • Shape and Form. A shape is formed when a two-dimensional line encloses an area. ...
  • Direction. ...
  • Texture. ...
  • Color. ...
  • Value. ...
  • Space/Perspective.
26 Aug 2016

What is the simplest element of design? ›

A line connects two points and is the simplest element of design. Put it this way, you can't strip down any lower than a one-dimensional object in the world of design.

What are the importance of elements and principles of design in clothing? ›

Elements of Design are an important part of any fashion design. Elements such as line, shape, and space help designers create their designs or patterns for different types of clothing, from shirts to pants to dresses! Elements like color can also influence the mood or feeling when looking at certain pieces.

Why universal design is important? ›

Universal design improves access and outcomes for everyone in a variety of situations. Some examples include: Curb cuts and power-assisted doors are necessary for access for people with mobility impairments.

Why is universal design for learning important? ›

The goal of UDL is to use a variety of teaching methods to remove any barriers to learning and give all students equal opportunities to succeed. It's about building in flexibility that can be adjusted for every student's strengths and needs. That's why UDL benefits all kids.

What are the main purposes of universal design? ›

Universal Design Goals

Universal Design is “a design process that enables and empowers a diverse population by improving human performance, health and wellness, and social participation” (Steinfeld and Maisel, 2012).

What is contrast in the 7 principles of art? ›


When defining this principle of the 7 principles of art, experts talk about how the artist arranged the opposite elements in the piece. These opposites may include light and dark, large and small, rough and smooth textures, and negative and positive space.

Why the art is important? ›

Art can communicate information, shape our everyday lives, make a social statement and be enjoyed for aesthetic beauty.

What are the basic principles of design? ›

8 basic design principles to help you make awesome graphics.
  • Design principle #1: Focus on alignment.
  • Design principle #2: Use hierarchy to help focus your design.
  • Design principle #3: Leverage contrast to accentuate important design elements.
  • Design principle #4: Use repetition to your advantage.
10 May 2022

Why is line important in art? ›

Line is the most basic visual element. Lines can be used to define shapes and figures, but also to indicate motion, emotion, and other elements.

What is the value element of art? ›

Value defines how light or dark a given color or hue can be. Values are best understood when visualized as a scale or gradient, from dark to light. The more tonal variants in an image, the lower the contrast. When shades of similar value are used together, they also create a low contrast image.

How do you describe elements of art? ›

The elements of art are the building blocks of an artwork: color, line, shape, form, value, texture, and space. They are the tools artists use when creating an artwork. The principles of design are how those building blocks are arranged: contrast, rhythm, proportion, balance, unity, emphasis, movement, and variety.

What is the most important visual element? ›

The Visual Elements - Line

It is the first and most versatile of the visual elements of art. Line in an artwork can be used in many different ways. It can be used to suggest shape, pattern, form, structure, growth, depth, distance, rhythm, movement and a range of emotions.

What is the most obvious element of design? ›

Color. 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 or typography.

What do you call the name of the color? ›

A color term (or color name) is a word or phrase that refers to a specific color.

What are the principles of design explain with example? ›

The elements, or principles, of visual design include Contrast, Balance, Emphasis, Movement, White Space, Proportion, Hierarchy, Repetition, Rhythm, Pattern, Unity, and Variety. These principles of design work together to create something that is aesthetically pleasing and optimizes the user experience.

What are the design principles explain in detail? ›

The principles of design are the rules a designer must follow to create an effective and attractive composition. The fundamental principles of design are: Emphasis, Balance and Alignment, Contrast, Repetition, Proportion, Movement and White Space. Design differs from art in that it has to have a purpose.

What are the principles of design explanation? ›

There are twelve basic principles of design: contrast, balance, emphasis, proportion, hierarchy, repetition, rhythm, pattern, white space, movement, variety, and unity. These principles work together to create visually appealing and functional designs that make sense to users.

What are the 7 visual design principles in architecture? ›

Below are 7 basic architectural design principles that every architect should know. They are balance, rhythm, emphasis, contrast, visual, proportion and scale. The key point is that you don't have to apply all those principles and just be comfortable to create some unique points for your work.

Why is it important for us to know and or use the basic principles of design? ›

The principles of design are the most important part of any design process. Without these principles, it would be very difficult for the users to understand the type of message that the designer is trying communicate.

What is the most important principle of design? ›

Hierarchy. One of the most important principles in design, hierarchy is a way to visually rank your design elements. Hierarchy is not based on a design styles, but rather the order of importance. A good design leads the eye through each area in priority order.

Why is line the most important element of art? ›

Line is the most basic visual element. Lines can be used to define shapes and figures, but also to indicate motion, emotion, and other elements.

Why do design principles matter? ›

The principles of design are concepts that guide the arrangement and structure of design elements in a design. The way these principles are applied affects the overall message and feel of a particular design. Good designs is one that is functional and makes a product useful.

Why are the elements and principles of art important? ›

The elements of art are the visual tools that the artist uses to create a composition. These are line, shape, color, value, form, texture, and space. The principles of art represent how the artist uses the elements of art to create an effect and to help convey the artist's intent.

What are design practices? ›

Knowledge of design practice includes understanding that designers identify the qualities and potential of design ideas in terms of the broad principles of design (aesthetics and function) and sustainability, and that they are influenced by societal, environmental, historical and technological factors.

What are the goals of design? ›

Design Goals are statements a team makes about the quality of experience they would like a product to attain. Design Goals are meant to be reached (blue target), some with more effort than others (line length). Design Goals are used to make decisions when choosing among design options. Take efficient as a design goal.

What makes a good design essay? ›

Firstly, the layout must speak loudly and directly to the content and the message of the learning module. The layout, when user-friendly lead to an experience that shows direction and a sense of organization.

What is emphasis in design? ›

Emphasis is the part of the design that catches the viewer's attention. 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. Movement is the path the viewer's eye takes through the work of art, often to focal areas.

Is color a principle of design? ›

Color is often deemed to be an important element of design as it is a universal language which presents the countless possibilities of visual communication. Hue, saturation, and brightness are the three characteristics that describe color.

What are the 7 principles of photography? ›

There are 7 principles of Photography i.e. Pattern, Balance, Negative Space, Grouping, Closure, Colour and Light/Shadow. By applying these 7 principles, Photographers can create a complete image in the foundation of art theory. Patterns makes sense of the visual world through regularity.

Are the elements of art? ›

There are seven elements of art that are considered the building blocks of art as a whole. The seven elements are line, color, value, shape, form, space, and texture.


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