What are the Elements of a Design

elements of design

Good design can sometimes seem appealing to everyone, which can be a great combination of components that both engage and enlighten the viewer. In reality, graphic designers use a set of tools, known as the elements of design, to build and hone that perfect design. Every single piece of design is made with an intent to communicate a message. The elements of design are the powerful tools which a designer uses to craft meaning and bring clarity to a scrambled chaos of ideas. The elements are those fragments or components that are the structure of the work that can be outlined in any visual design or work of art and may carry a wide variety of meaningful messages. Essentially elements of design include line, shape, color, space, size & scale, texture, and value. There are various Visualization Training Institutes which offers Visualization Courses that encourages you to experiment with different forms and different elements. These courses are an essential that aims to help you develop creative methods of thinking and a critical approach to your own work..

1. Line

Line is the first and most basic element of design. A line is a form having length & width, without depth. Lines aid the artist in dividing space and drawing the attention to a particular location. Typically, lines are used to create edges, outlines of objects, etc. Lines can be broadly classified into horizontal, vertical & diagonal lines. For example, see how a newspaper uses lines to separate content, headlines and facet panels.
Hand drawn or thick lines tend towards juvenile themes, whereas straight and thin lines are more refined, corporate or intelligent. How lines interact with each other is important, too. If they are straight, thin lines, but are colliding at all sorts of crazy angles, that is going to be chaotic. If they have a hand drawn quality to them but are more or less straight and orderly, this can give a much-needed personal appeal to a design.

Lines are Good to:

  • Create texture
  • Define space
  • Emphasize
  • Produce a mood
  • Indicate motion
  • Show perspective

Few Examples of Use of Line:

Picture 1: Perfect use of Lines for making a design

2. Color

Color is one amongst the foremost obvious elements of design, for the designer. It will stand alone, as a background, or be applied to different elements, like shapes, lines, textures or typography. Color creates a mood within the piece of art and narrates a story regarding brand or product. Each color says something different, and mixtures will alter that impression further.

Generally color has three properties- Hue, Value and Intensity.

  1. Hue, refers to the name of the colors.
    • Primary hue are Yellow, Red, & Blue
    • Secondary colors are made by combination of two primary colors
    • Intermediate color is mix of both primary and secondary color.
  2. Value, refers to the lightness or darkness of hue.
  3. Intensity, which refers to the purity of the hue commonly known as “Chroma”

Example of Use of Colours:

Picture 2: Use of color in Cartoon Illustration

3. Shape

Shapes whether natural, geometric, or abstract add interest in the design always. Shapes are outlined by boundaries, like lines or color, and are often used to emphasize specific portion of the page. In essence, everything is a shape therefore you must always think in terms of how the various elements of your design are creating shapes, and the way those shapes are interacting. Shapes can change the mood of readers as angular shapes such as square and triangle adds masculinity and smooth shapes such as circle and oval add femininity to the design.

Shape can be used to

  •     Create texture
  •     Define space
  •     Separate/emphasize
  •     Produce mood

Example of Use of Shapes:

Picture 3: Use of shapes in Holiday Poster

4. Space

Space is an element that gives to readers a room for breathe and leads their eyes through the design. Space also helps in adding emotional feel such as free, open, crowded, claustrophobic etc. Space as an element of design refers to 3D volume having width, height, and depth. Designers can use several techniques to showcase visual depth or space, for instance, linear, perspective, overlapping, etc.

Space is used to

  • Set mood
  • Emphasize
  • Create depth
  • Balance
  • Rest

Example of Use of Space:

Picture 4: Right usage of space in a Kid Showroom Poster

5. Texture

Textures are very useful when you want add realism and visual interest in your design. Textures will produce an additional 3D look appearance on 2D surface. It conjointly helps build an immersive world in your design. You should use texture wisely as it is very difficult to balance the contrast in a design while using it.

What texture can do with your design?

  • Define shapes or space
  • Add visual interest (detail)
  • Create a mood
  • Emphasize
  • Create a tactile response, evoke memories and add realism

Example of Use of Texture in Design:

Picture 5: This picture uses the texture of physical world into the digital realm. It is incorporating the product with the design because its customers integrate the unique texture and design as a product.

6. Scale and Size

Scale and size can bring contrast and balance in your design if you know how to manage them with perfection. Size is the actual dimension of an object while scale is the element's relation to its original form and size. There is one more term that comes in discussion obviously i.e. proportion. Proportion in a design is a relation between all the objects available on the page in terms of their sizes and scale.

Use of size and scale in a design

  • Create depth
  • Create perspective
  • Create hierarchy and organize
  • Create interest and variety

Examples of the Use of Size and Scale in Designs:

Picture 6: See the above design, it is one of the best examples of size and scale.

7. Transparency

Also, occasionally known as ‘opacity’, transparency refers to how ‘see-through’ an element is. The lower your opacity, the lighter and less noticeable your element is, and the higher it is, the more solid the element is. It is also a great technique for generating a sense of movement in static images.

Picture 7: Perfect use of Transparency used in above Brochure

There are several rules and principles which can be applied for creating beautiful designs on and off the graphic, web, and in any designing field but above mentioned 7 elements are the basic essential elements of design that will ensure anything you create is appealing, professional, and perfect. The discipline of learning the power of these elements and formatting them within the principles of design is the responsibility of the graphic designer. To understand these elements and how to implement them in a professional way can be achieved by joining Short Term Certificate Courses in Graphic Designing. Moreover, whenever you’re out and see a beautiful design, take note of posters, menus, and signs you see, and try to identify which elements are used and how it uses them. Develop an ‘eye for unique and stunning designs’ and keep a physical or record of motivating methods to use these techniques and store that away for a rainy day.

Don’t forget Play, experiment, but do it with purpose and care. Do you have any techniques or tips for beginner designers? Or perhaps some principles of your own? If you are willing to divulge your secrets, go ahead and leave them below in the comments section!


View Full Presentation on Slideshare: Tips for Professional UI Design for a Website

View Full Presentation on Slideshare: Elements and Principles of Designing

  1. Factors that Make Graphic Design Institute Unique and Different

    Factors that Make Graphic Design Institute Unique and Different

    Graphic Design Institute in Rohini, Delhi is one amongst the well-established and renowned institutes in Graphic Design Industry in Delhi, NCR, bestowing advance training and learning in Graphic Design Courses. This institute is providing all the diploma & certificate courses with professional orientation and are recognized worldwide in association with today’s big name in the multimedia education i.e. ADMEC Multimedia Institute in Delhi, India.

  2. What are the Elements of a Design

    elements of design

    Good design can sometimes seem appealing to everyone, which can be a great combination of components that both engage and enlighten the viewer. In reality, graphic designers use a set of tools, known as the elements of design, to build and hone that perfect design. Every single piece of design is made with an intent to communicate a message. The elements of design are the powerful tools which a designer uses to craft meaning and bring clarity to a scrambled chaos of ideas.

  3. Role of Colors in Making of Design

    role of colors in designing

    It‘s not an extravagance to mention that color played crucial role in creating a mood. It will stimulate our imagination to express taste, smell, and emotions. Since technology has modified it all, and never before have there been so numerous colors obtainable, the flexibility to form our mood with color is especially true for a computer screen.

  4. Role of Typefaces in a Design

    role of typefaces in designing

    “Typography speaks louder than words”, how many of you of you believe in this statement? Surprisingly, not many of you because there exists many high quality designers who don’t know the role and value of typography in design.  Assorted words are used in web and graphic design to portray brand identity, services and many other things relevant to one’s business. However the most important factor to be considered is how one can express his business to millions of people all around the world. The sole answer is, right and eye-catchy Typography.

  5. Why Shapes are Important for a Design?

    use of shapes in design

    Shapes are another fundamental element in graphic designing. Typically shapes are two dimensional having length and width. They relate to the figures and structures which are geometric, organic, or abstract making up the various elements in design.

  6. Principles of Design

    Principles of Design

    Most of the time people often think that design is all about creativity. If you’re an entrepreneur or designer who has just started their career, you might combine any five typefaces and colors that catches your eye and might think your design is creative. But soon after you probably find yourself with a design that is scrambled, incomplete, or well, just plain unpleasant. Graphic design, like any discipline, follows to strict rules that work beneath the surface to make the work stable and balanced. If the work is missing that balance, it will be weak and ineffective.

  7. Types of Grid Systems Useful for Layout Making by Graphic Designers

    Types of Grid System Useful for Layout Making

    One of the easiest ways to achieve an organized design is to apply a grid system. It’s a tried and tested technique that first found favour in print layout. A Grid represents a framework of spaced bars that are parallel to or cross one other, a grinding.” Grids in interactive design can also help provide a consistent experience across multiple devices with different screen sizes.

  8. Useful Tips to Compose a Page

    tips to composing a page

    Page layout or page composition is the methodology of setting, organizing and rearranging text and other designing elements on the page. A good composition is one that is visually satisfying as well as effectively conveys the message of the text and graphics to the target audience. There are few true and tried elements of page composition that can help to create an effective layout. Following are some tips for page lay-outing or page composition. Hope you find them useful while composing a page.

  9. Types of Page Layout in Detail for Graphic Designers

    type of page layout

    When talking about a page layout, graphic designers often employee distinguished layouts according to their preferences. Types of layout can be classified as magazine layout, advertising layout, static, dynamic, adaptive or responsive. In case you’re a graphic artist, user interface designers for websites, or a motion graphic artist; you ought to have sound understanding of these terms i.e. what they mean and when each type of layout should be used. 

    Types of Page Layout in Graphic Designing

    Broadly page layout can be classified as:

  10. Popular Page Layouting Terminologies to Know

    So far we have discussed about Graphic Design, its elements and principles in detail, page lay- outing tips and so on. However even after getting knowledge about these topics, designers specially beginners are not aware about the basic layouting terminologies. So here it is. The following article deals with the popular page layouting terms used in profession of graphic designing.