A design is an arrangement, a way of organizing something. In arts and crafts, even though we use many different materials, the visual appearance can be reduced to six elements of design. They are line, shape, form, space, color, and texture. They are what we organize. They are the tools.

Elements of Design

“Shadow #8” Barton

Line is a mark with greater length than width. Lines can be horizontal, vertical or diagonal, straight or curved, thick or thin. Such as the edge of a building, train tracks and sidewalks etc. Line is used to portray movement, or to suggest a shape.  The wood creates both a vertical and horizontal line, while the shadows create lines that suggest geometric shapes.

Elements of Design

A closed line, Shapes can be geometric, like squares and circles; or organic, like free formed shapes or natural shapes. Usually shapes are used to create a sense of space.  The shape created by the chair is heightened by the increased contrast of the image.

Elements of Design

“R.Mutt” Marcel Duchamp

Forms are three-dimensional shapes, expressing length, width, and depth. Balls, cylinders, boxes and triangles are forms.  The least used of the elements, a three dimensional object. It is difficult to portray a three dimensional object on film, which is by nature two dimensional.

The form within the famous image of the urinal by Marcel Duchamp are said to resemble the same form of many religious sculptures.

Elements of Design

“Artist Alley” Barton

Space is the area between and around objects. Negative space refers to the area of unused or unoccupied area in a photo, negative space has shape. Space can also refer to the feeling of depth. Real space is three-dimensional; in visual art when we can create the feeling or illusion of depth we call it space.

In the image of the alley the plain sides of the buildings, pavement and sky. Play against each others space to create visual tension within the image.

“Field Trip” Barton

Color is light reflected off objects. Color has three main characteristics: hue or its name (red, green, blue, etc.), value (how light or dark it is), and intensity (how bright or dull it is).  You can use color to draw attention to one area o an image.

The yellow and black of the school bus create a frame around the figure, drawing attention to it visually.

“Texture #9” Barton 

Texture is the surface quality that can be seen and felt. Textures can be rough or smooth, soft or hard. Everything three dimensional has some sort of texture.

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