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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
A curved line is dynamic, ever changing, and more natural, than the straight line, which is more static in character. Direction, while often listed as a separate element, is technically a part of the element "line". The diagonal line is more dynamic and is quicker to draw the eye. It can be used to create movement and depth. Horizontal lines are more static and tranquil therefore calmer, more passive. Vertical lines evoke strength, power, but less dynamic than diagonals.

Shape … Natural, Geometric. Positive and Negative. (The Golden Mean)
Geometric shapes are more passive, decorative, and static than organic shapes. Repeated shapes can be used to create movement. Repeating geometric shapes increases the decorative effect. Look beyond the obvious shapes of heads, bodies, buildings, etc., and view your subject as abstract shapes. Change many of the obvious shapes and create new more interesting shapes. Try to find interlocking shapes. Keep the background shapes in the background, but look for places to connect the foreground and background.

Space / Size … Large, Medium, Small. Proportion or Scale. (The Golden Mean)
The comparative relation between things. Employ large, medium, small concept. Size can be used to make things appear nearer and of greater importance. Size relationships can be used to create depth (Perspective).

Value … Light, Dark. (Value Patterns)
Value can be used to create mood, i.e. dark and mysterious, light and airy, gray and dull. High contrast in value moves things forward; low contrast makes them recede. (Arial Perspective)

ColorHue, Chorma, and Value.
Hue is the specific name of a color, red, yellow, blue (primary colors). (The Color Wheel)
Chroma, also called saturation, often called intensity, refers to a colors strength or weakness, bright or grayed.
Color Value refers to the lightness or darkness of the color, not to its intensity or to a specific hue.

Texture … Rough, Smooth, Soft, Hard.
Texture shows at the edges and in the play of light and shadow on the surface.

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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