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The Elements of Design are the things that artists and designers work with to create a design, or composition. The Elements are: line, shape, space, value, color and texture.

Line … The Graphic Unifier, Curved, Straight. Directional Thrust: Horizontal, Vertical, and Diagonal.

Shape … Naturalistic, Geometric. (The Golden Mean)

Space / Size … Large, Medium, Small. Proportion or Scale. (The Golden Mean)(Perspective)

Value … Light, Dark. (Value Patterns)(Arial Perspective)

Color … Hue, Chroma, and Value. (The Color Wheel)

Texture … Rough, Smooth, Soft, Hard.

The Principles of Design are achieved through the use of the Elements of Design. Each principle applies to each element and to the composition as a whole. The Principles are: unity, harmony, balance, rhythm, contrast, dominance, and gradation.

Unity … Echoes of all elements relating.

Harmony … Within each element and as a whole.

Balance … With the "weights" of the segments of each element.

Rhythm … Variety and Repetition.

Contrast … Alternation.

Dominance … Within each element. (Center of Interest, Focal Point)

Gradation … Modeling, (3-D effect), Transitions.

A COMPOSITION is an arrangement of all the elements, which achieves a unified whole. But alas, it is merely a tool to create form and content. Content relates to human emotion and the intellect and is the end result of the reasons for painting. Design is a means to that end.
See: Types of Compositions and A Simple Approach to Good Design.

ATTRIBUTES are defined as the qualities that the art or design conveys to the observer.
Emotional … Active, Passive
Esthetic … Realistic, Impressionistic, Abstract, Decorative
Spatial … Depth, Flat

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