Principles Of Design • The Principles Of Design help artists organize compositions so they communicate effectively. • The main Principles are Unity, Variety, Emphasis, Rhythm & Movement, Balance, Pattern, and Proportion.
Unity • 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 or feelings.
Proximity Similarity & Continuation Unity is affected by Proximity, Similarity, and Continuation. • 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
Variety Introducing differences in the elements of a composition to offset unity and add interest to an artwork Gustav Klimt Tree of Life
Emphasis 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.
Emphasis 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 well-defined artwork such as The Girl with a Pearl Earring by Jan Vermeer.
Isolation means putting one object alone, apart from all the others as in Andrew Wyeth’s Christina’s World. 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 too predictable.
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.
Rhythm • A principle that refers to ways of combining elements to produce the appearance of movement in an artwork. • Repetition and movement indicates rhythm in the artwork. • It may also be achieved through alternation or progression of an element.
Movement • Movement is used to create the look and feeling of action. • Most movement in art is implied, although some works, called kinetic art, actually move in space.
Optical Movement • Movement added by illusions and the trickery of eyes.
Balance • The principle of design referring to the arrangement of visual elements to create stability in an artwork. • The balance of the art is even and equalized in all aspects.
Different Types Of Balance • Asymmetrical • Symmetrical • Approximate Symmetry • Radial
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. Formal balance along a central vertical axis in Diego Rivera’s Flower Day and radiating from the top center of Dorothy Torivio’s Vase.
Asymmetrical/Informal The artist considers the visual weight of all the elements and places them accordingly, with no consideration of an axis.
Symmetrical/Formal Identical on both sides of central axis, in this case, vertical.
Approximately Symmetrical Almost identical on both sides
Radial balance occurs when all the elements radiate out from a central point and the visual weight is distributed equally. Radial balance creates a strong focal point in the center of the design.
REVIEW (right) “Nollendorfplatz” by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner in 1912 Radial symmetry, or symmetry radiating out from a specific point, takes form in the positioning of the street and streetcars in Kirchner’s work. Almost all of the imagery seems drawn into one central focal point – the intersection of the street. (top left) “The Centennial of Independence,” by Henri Rousseau om 1892 Rousseau’s work demonstrates a symmetrical balance. The tree splits the painting into two distinct halves and then utilizes the flags both in the air and in the hands of the dancers to create horizontal symmetry. (bottom left) “Stilleben mit Brot und Eirn” by Paul Cézanne in 1865 (Bottom Left) Cézanne’s still life demonstrates asymmetrical balance. The use of a bright white towel in the bottom right corner completely dominates the work but is still balanced out by the parallel emptiness of the deep black background.
Visual weight is influenced by: Position - the further out an element is from the center, the heavier it will feel; a large object placed near the center can be balanced by a smaller object placed near the edge Size - larger feels heavier Texture - an element with more complex texture is heavier visually than one with a simple texture or no texture at all Isolation - an isolated element has more visual weight Value - darker feels heavier Value contrast - the higher the value-contrast, the heavier the weight Quantity - multiple small objects can balance one larger object Orientation - a diagonal orientation carries more visual weight than a horizontal or vertical one Shape - elements that have more complex shapes feel heavier than those with simple shapes Color - the brighter and more intense its color, the heavier the element will feel
Pattern The repetition or combination of elements in a recognizable organization.
Proportion • Proportion is the size relationship between the parts to one another and to the whole.
Proportion Refers to the size relationships of parts to one another and to the whole. The Golden Mean A shape divided into two parts so that the ration of the smaller part to the larger part is the same ration of the larger part to the whole. Exaggeration and distortion are deviations from expected or normal proportions.
Realistic proportion in Marisol’sThe Family and in Duane Hanson’s Tourists II. Disproportion and exaggeration in Amedeo Modigliani’sHead andin Pablo Picasso’s Three Dancers.