Design as a whole is quite important in how we humans interact with things. Design is a deliberate thought involved in creating or producing any object in a simple sense.
There are a plethora of things that have been made with design in mind- from clothes to containers, food wrappings, cars, buildings, and so much more.
Design elements interact together to create fundamentals of design that are visible to the eye. These are important since they have to be chosen carefully with the larger picture of the finished design in mind. Nowadays, we are familiar with the simple satisfaction of interacting with anything with ‘good design.’
What is meant by ‘good design,’ though? And what is meant by the elements? What are the different elements of design?
Good design can be best understood as design with thought put into it. When designing any product or item, the end purpose must be kept in mind because it facilitates ease of use and creates a positive perception for the end-user, who, like the designer, realizes the value of good design.
This perception of value can be based either on aesthetics, interaction, or both.
Why Is Design Important?
Design as an artistic principle is crucial because it gives identity to objects that we create. Through lines, organic shapes, colors, and other elements, we try to give out a message about them. Design overall serves as a foundation over which an object’s entire composition or appearance rests.
Design is a core idea of art and profoundly affects artists, who use it expertly in their works. It comprises a different visual element that creates interest and draws attention, roping the viewer in.
The genuinely impressive design utilizes both the principles of design and the elements of design that act together harmoniously to actively represent something- whether it be an idea or merely a product. Graphic design, web design, architectural design, urban planning, traditional arts, and product design, are only some of the popular applications of design in today’s world.
Good design is vital whether it is for a business card, poster, or apparel design. When something is made well with thought put into it, the product comes across as really valuable. Moreover, design can often differentiate one product from another in the ever-expanding sea of things we produce and sell to people.
Besides that, good design also lasts longer, thereby lessening the need to consume things all over again once they fall into disrepair or become outdated. Many buyers, therefore, are ready to shell out more money if they feel what they are getting is worth it in terms of quality and design.
What is the Difference Between the Principles of Design?
There is an important distinction to be made between the principles of design and the elements of design. The two are not the same despite sounding similar. Here is a simple explanation of the two connected but altogether distinct terms-
Principles of design, as the name itself indicates, are those which influence and guide the sum total of an example in design. In other words, they can be understood as the ‘rules‘ the designer uses to create something.
Principles of design include contrast, balance, emphasis, proportion, rhythm, and more. in relation to the designer’s style or the intended use.
The elements of design, on the other hand, are the things that actually constitute the design in question. Elements of design are things like lines, negative space, color, shapes, textures, typography, and more. Elements of design interact with each other as well as the viewer’s eye. Having understood the meaning, it will be easier to understand what are the different elements of design that create a great overall impression.
The Elements of design, therefore, are components that actually make a design.
What Are the Different Elements of Design?
Having understood the meaning of the term elements of design, here is a list of the various elements of design, which will help you as a designer to create great designs and help you understand what makes a good design as well. The following answers what are the different elements of design; will make you understand their importance and help you integrate them into your own designs.
Mathematically, a two-dimensional line encloses a series of connected points from one end to another. However, in the realm of design, lines are much more complex and can be of varying width, size, color, and various other elements. As one of the most important elements of design; basically, two points connected together create lines.
Graphically, a line is simply a stroke from a pen or brush. It is also understood to simply be two connected points. According to designers, lines are among the most basic elements of design. Out of what are the different elements of design, lines are very significant.
No matter if they’re horizontal lines, diagonal lines, or vertical lines, lines can help in directing the focus toward a certain point in your design.
Design elements use lines very commonly to create rhythm- different types, like a straight line or a curved line are utilized. Different thickness of each line creates visual texture.
A line placed differently can create different impressions- a straight line creates a rigid, cleaner impression, whereas a diagonal line creates an impression of motion and random rhythm.
When light rays reflect off objects and are absorbed by the retina, the sensation produced is known as color. Visually speaking, color is perhaps the most vital aspect of a design and lends create personality and meaning to any work.
Popular businesses utilize the color wheel very effectively in their brand logos, and other related graphic designs. Color creates different feelings for the viewer. When considering the question of what are the different elements of design, color ranks high on the list.
Color draws the viewer in, and gives significant implied meaning to designs, making them resonate and stick in the consumer’s mind. Color is both a vital and basic element of any design, and using the right colors can create visual interest.
Important while using color, is understanding that saturation and hue represent the intensity and the name of the color. Value, on the other hand, represents lightness and darkness.
For further reading, it is highly recommended that designers explore color theory and the color wheel.
A Shape is formed when a line encloses any space or area. Lines create shapes. They vary from being geometric shapes, such as circles, triangles, rectangles, and squares, to being organic shapes, like leaves, birds, animals, and water. Abstract shapes are shapes that represent nature, but not perfectly. A shape is a very definitive element in any graphic design as it draws the design into a coherent whole.
Shapes are often the basic building blocks of design, and can make or break the whole design ideal- shapes meet to create logos, backgrounds, and forms. Designers often use lines, saturation, and color to give a shape some distinctive three-dimensional appearance.
Three-dimensional shapes require more effort and are also more distinctive. When creating a graphic design, it is an important element to consider how a shape interacts with one another besides what are the different elements of design.
How two shapes interact is a great consideration in creating a unified design. Abstract shapes and rounded shape is a great example and gives a distinctly feminine aesthetic to your design.
Texture refers to our perception of how a surface feels. In terms of design, however, it is visual texture rather than the tactile texture that one experiences. Textures as a design element add greatly to a design by enriching the sensory experience and creating a lot of visual interest. Texture creates an idea of the general perception for the viewer.
Texture plays an important role in website design and often serves as a background over which the rest of the design is built. Suppliers for building materials often use rough textures as a flat surface or a backdrop for their websites, since the visitors to the website will be visually drawn to the idea that building materials need to be strong, rugged, and durable. The texture is an integral part of what are the different elements of design.
A woodwork-related website, on the other hand, will use smooth-grained, finely cut, and knurled wood as a backdrop to create visual interest for the visitor. Thus, these few examples help one understand the overall image that one can form and create texture in designs
5. Positive Space and Negative Space
Space refers to the area surrounding an object or around the focal point. It can be classified as positive space, meaning the area of interest is the subject, or negative space refers to the area surrounding the subject and the area of interest.
Positive space and Negative space are highly significant, yet basic elements of design. The usage of space creates a sense of purpose for the web design and is vital for guiding the eyes to a particular part of the design and capturing interest.
Negative space also referred to as white space, must be utilized effectively to draw attention to the subject area and enhances the refinement and readability of designs. White space can also be used to add to the idea behind the design by using it in a way to add more information for the viewer, thus enhancing the overall image. Space thus stands tall among what are the different elements of design.
Minimalist designs use white space very effectively and are thus popular for web design since they draw the reader’s eye very organically. Interested readers should do further reading on minimalism.
Typography refers to the artistic use of text in the design. It is perhaps the most important element in website design and adds manifold to the UI experience. Designers create typography to engage with the viewer directly through their design and convey the message.
Typography also helps create a visual hierarchy in design, letting viewers know was is the most important part of the design, where to look, and how to understand the greater ideal behind the design.
Grafitti or Street art often brilliantly uses typography, comments on social issues, or simply for fun. Typography is a very distinctive element of design and differs remarkably from what are the different elements of design.
Whereas what are the different elements of design work as part of the whole, typography can also work coherently and independently to bring together what are the different elements of design by providing a base to work on or as a finishing touch. Thus, typography is a unique element of design and is versatile and interesting visually.
Size is also referred to as scale, but both mean the same thing in terms of what they mean for the designer. Size is a basic element of design, yet it is often overlooked. For any design to appear visually inviting and attractive enough, size and scale are important since they lend proportion to the design as a whole.
When things look out of proportion, they appear hastily thought out and look strange and uninviting. With the rise of the internet and the vast resources available online, a website must look inviting.
To conclude, even outside of the internet, scale and proportion play an important role in artistic designs, whether it is in the form of architecture, automotive design, or paintings. When what are the different elements of design blend in and flow together, it creates a sense of harmony for the beholder and garners interest and appreciation since it indicates attention to detail.
Thus, these are 7 of what are the different elements of design. Knowing the different elements of design will help you create better and more engaging designs.
Do you agree with our pick of the 7 most important design elements?
What are the different elements of design which are the most important according to you?
If so, please share your thoughts in the comments below. Additionally, go through this article talking about some of the best recent graphic design trends.
-Edited by Steffy Michael|27/6/22