Archive for February, 2009

Principles of Design

February 27, 2009

Principles of design:

Balance:  The weighted relationship between visual elements

The image below has equal elements to create an even effect.  The five figures correlate well with five sides and five corners, giving five of each, which even in terms of numbers balances: 5 to 5 to 5.  The trailing leg of each woman gives the appearance of a circle in the centre, which also creates a balancing effect.

The flag of South Korea shows Balance both horizontally, vertically and diagonally:  Horizontally we have the line elements evenly displayed either side of the cirle in the middle, and centrally to the image.  Vertically, the dividing line of the circle is pretty much half way up and acts as a dividing line from top to bottom.  Once again the line elements are evenly split with each “set” matching with  its opposite.

Composition:  The Organisation of the elements of design into a unified whole

One compositional technique is the rule of thirds:  The picture is divided into thirds both vertically and horizontally.  The tower follows a third and the rainbow dissects the cross over points of horizontal meeting vertical.   This image has brought together elements of space (top left – sky), form (dome), colour (rainbow), value (separation of the dome surface), line (the pointy bit on top), texture (the dome is metal) and shape (clock face) in one composition

Another compositional technique is the rule of odds.  One object is always in the middle:  This composition shows form (balloon heads), line (corners of the room, “lady’s” head), shape (the door way), colour (red, green, purple, blue etc), space (to the right of the lady), texture (the man on the lefts jacket) and value (look at the image from top left and work your way over to bottom right to go on a journey in value – dark to light to dark again)


Emphasis:  The focus of attention in a composition:

We are drawn to the lips coming through the cracked mirror.  The crack lines in the broken mirror pull us to the emphasis: a kiss.  It draws our attention because the image is strange, sexual, shocking, Red entices us: the warmth of the lips contrasting with the coolness of the sky.


The emphasis in the image is clearly the statue of Jesus.  Many principles add to the emphasis of this picture:  the contrast between the form of the statue and the space that is the sky.  The balance within the picture and the value in the darkness also add to the impact/emphasis of the main subject – the silhouette.


Harmony:  The unity of all the visual elements in a composition

The “radioactive cats” below present harmony in their green-ness and also in the fact that they are all (radioactive) cats, generally in the bottom third of the image.  The rest of the picture being virtually all of a grey colour also present harmony in the uniformity of its colour.  The two dominating colours present contrast with emphasis drawing attention primarily to the cats. The proximity and repetition of the cats gives us a kind of pattern, tying the work together.


There is great harmony in many aspects of nature:  examine the butterfly wing below.  See the uniformity in the concentric circles in colour and pattern.  The grouping of the 3 circles above and the 3 below either side of the larger circle, gives the butterfly wing balance which also adds to the harmony of the over all effect.  The “bones” of the wing all come together and lead to the abdomen in a sense “pointing” to the butterfly’s body.  This also shows harmony in the image.

Proportion:  The ratio of one part of the composition to another

The image below has proportion as one of its main principles:  the 3 people on the right are shown to be approximately twice the size of the characters on the left.  The boat (far left) appears to be a long way off as it is painted very small, about the height of one of the smaller guys’ shins. This is to give the illusion of distance.


The bulldog in the picture is much larger than the mouse giving it the appearance of heavy weight and much height (the bulldog takes up nearly a third of the frame).  The mouse by comparison, seems small and gives the appearance of lightness in mass, small in stature.  The title on screen seems appropriate to this image:  the large, seemingly muscular bulldog standing next to a relaxed looking and small mouse.


Repetition:  The use of an element or elements more than one time in a single composition

You can see below that this pop-art image is a collection of 9 shots of Marilyn Munroe.  The repetition conveys pattern, the colours add variety.


This wallpaper sample shows the repetition of a symmetrical shape.  It was created as a pattern.  This image also has high contrast in its black and white colour scheme, which makes the pattern stand out more.


Rhythm:  The repetition of an element to achieve movement in a composition

The photo below shows a diver in several stages of a dive.  The multiple exposures in the one image suggest movement to the viewer and in this movement conveys rhythm.


This dog appears to be moving.  This is partly due to the rhythm of this picture:  there is repetition in the lines created by its fur.  You can imagine the feeling of the wind in its face.


Unity:  The organisation of elements and principles into a whole

The trees in the photo below appear as part of a group, conveying pattern.  The landscape and sky almost divide the page in two with the trees almost dead centre, achieving a high level of balance.  The circle in the yellow grass helps draws the emphasis to the centre of the picture.  If we removed or changed any of the other main elements here, the picture would not hold the same value or appeal.  All of these factors add to the unity found in this photo.


The image following here has unity in a different way:  each design is part of the set:  all have a similar colour scheme, all have a pattern created by the form of a number of objects surrounding a central object.  There is also much economy in these images, simplicity to define a central object.  There is emphasis in the main object, which is helped by blurring of the more minor pattern objects.  Both the main objects and the smaller objects contrast with the plain, neutral coloured background.  Each image is individually unified, but all three work well together as a set and have unity together.


Variety:  The differences among and between elements in a composition

There is much variety in the following 2 images: 

In the first picture there are thick and thin lines of many different colours which seem to have no direction.  Some lines are blurred at the edges and others are sharp.  The face of the girl is in greyscale, but her hair is coloured.  There is a great overlapping of all elements in this piece.  All of the shapes are irregular. 


The second image combines variety in a great range of colour, in contrast to the dark background.  There are organic shapes in butterflies and leaves, and lines that are both straight and curved, thick and thin, moving in multiple directions.  There is also contrast between the straightness of the coloured lines and the organic nature of the black leaves in the background and again between the “skin” colour of the female subject and that of her nails and lips. Value is expressed in the intense colour scheme again compared with the dark background There is a kind of unity in the seemingly unrelated elements of this work.


Contrast:  Where there is distinguishable difference between objects.  This may be in shape such as the letter “S” and the letter “I” or it may be in contrast in tone, colour, mass etc.

This poster uses contrast in many ways.  The top of the background is very different to the bottom, the black meeting the light blue.  In the water drop there is contrast in the drop its self and the shadow within the ripple.   There is contrast between the black background with the white, blue and yellow type and contrast between the lines of type in their colour: light blue to white at the top, white to yellow in the centre.  The logo has contrast in itself:  curved multiple lines surrounded by a square made of a singular line.


The image below shows high contrast in several areas:  The intensity of the green and pink with a black and white background.  Contrast between the roundness of the hat and gloves and the straightness of the green and pink ribbons.  Contrast is present with the geometric shapes of the perfume bottles and the more organic hairline and facial features.  The black and white text is in contrast to large areas of shape.



Economy:  The intentional removal of elaboration.  Only the elements that have a purpose remain

In an advert for upmarket products, the product and name tend to talk for themselves.  In this photo of Hine Antique XO Cognac, this is all that needs to be emphasised. 

The Elements that have purpose here:  Very minimal colour.  There is contrast between the bottle edge and the white background.  Space around the bottle coupled with singular form brings much emphasis.   There is no elaboration here, just seemingly simple purpose and design.


Simplicity is often present in images that have silhouettes as their main emphasis.  This image has only 2 colours, 2 shapes and lots of space.  With economic images, there tends to be high contrast as we can see here between the background and the silhouette.



Elements of Design

February 26, 2009

The assignment that Paul has given us requires that we collect examples of elements and principles of design.  Each element can be defined in many different ways.  I have tried to outline some of these here:


Variety of direction, Curved/straight.
The lines in the roller coaster track are required to move in different directions to curve and straighten in the most appropriate places to maximise the user’s enjoyment.

Lines in metal

Lines in metal

Definition of contour/outline
This ‘Map’ of the human body is shown with line covering every angle
contour and outline

Illusion of space and form
The lines in this image are angled in such a way as to convey actual 3D elements and to outline and define areas of spaceillusion-of-space-and-form

Pattern through line
When placed in a certain order the following designs product pattern through repetition.  As you can see (top right), pattern can also be vaired through the thickness of the line
Pattern though line

Thickness of line and cross hatching
The image below shows that through different line thicknesses you can give the illusion of weight and direction of light.  Mulitple lines, crossing one another give an illusion of  form and texture also.  This technique is called cross hatching.
thickness of line

Boat made up of a combination of long and short lines
The long and short lines combined below are joined together to present an illustration of a boat.


Pattern when repeated with objective shapes
The shapes below culminate to create a pattern  after being grouped together in a strategic way
pattern through shape

Geometric shapes

The image below shows a colourful display of geometrically formed circles and triangles.  Definition of  Geometric shapes are “precise shapes that can be described using mathematic a formulas, like square, triangle, circle etc.

Positive and negative
This image shows the balance between positive and negative shape:  the black is positive, the beige colour is negative. The two come togther here to show an image of a lady (Gestalt).

Rhythm and Organic
This picture shows rhythm through the repetition of the honeycomb, but it is also an organic shape:  the bees made it!

Emphasis in size
Emphasis has been created by the difference in size of the two objects

Balance (due to shape placement in nature )
The image below shows perfect balance in the picture through how the different  sections of the butterfly’s wings are displayed.  The wings give equal parts on each side.

Non objective
The shapes below have no set form


The coins shown here have been manipulated to form a new shape


The image of the building below shows great symmetry:   The left and the right side were designed to be identical.

The image below (aside from the sphere towards to top) shows non-symmetry in its form.
asymmetry and closed form

The image below shows open form, but with a natural (organic) twist

3D Pattern/geometric
This image is geometric in the forms (with precise shapes) it uses, repeated to create this pattern
pattern and geometric


Here is a colour wheel:

And another colour wheel showing hue, saturation and brightness
hue bright saturation

This image has a “warm” appearance in the tones it uses:  reds, yellows, oranges.  These colour dominate the scene.

This image has a “cool” appearance in the tones it uses:  blues, greens, aquamarine.  These colour dominate the scene.

The bright stand out colours of the balloons suggest good feelings.  They evoke an emotion of happiness from the person viewing.  The colour is aided by the form of the balloons to create the expected feelings.

The colours in this image are greatly concentrated, but complementary colours are also lacking, leading to the “intense” effect.

The colours used in this image gradually get lighter towards the top.  It appears that we are looking across the landscape towards the horizon.  This gives the impression of distance – “the further away” the area we view, the lighter it is portrayed, as we find if we look at the horizon from a high vantage point.


The individual parts of this image overlap one another:  notice the edges one some pieces partially over the top of the edges of other pieces.  The individual pieces are negative:  The negative space is the white area –  It defines and implies the shape it represents.
overlap & negative

Displayed by Colour
The space around the silhouette of the skateboarder is emphasied by the colour produced by the sun setting.

The shape of the moose is the positive space: The positive space of a design is the filled space in the design—often it is the shapes (as is the case here) that make up the design.

Positive and negative space
The positive space of a design is the filled space in the design—often it is the shapes that make up the design. Negative space is the background. The negative space in design is as important as the positive area.  The ram on the right is “filled” with negative space.

3D Space (kurt wenner)
Kurt Wenner
shows us his ability in producing 3D space in a image
3D space

Much of the space in this image is distorted by the light coming through the water


Real/Surface/man made
These surfaces are all actual, real surfaces (photographs of).  Two are man made (suade & metal – the two on the right) and two are natuarally occurring (cracks & dripping marks).

This tree bark is a great example of a naturally occurring texture


With Emphasis
The surface texture of the belly coming through the paper gives much emphasis demanding the focus of the person viewing the image.  The ripped edges of the paper further add to that emphasis by outlining the belly.

Affected by light
The appearance of the sand is changed by the addition of light.  The angle of the light adds shade which with the sand formed as it is, creates a kind of line pattern.  The shading and light also emphasises the value in the picture.


Created by the manipulation of the media and to show darkness and lightness.
The image has been shaped in a way that shows up the light on this dark surface.  the Value of the “eyes” and “facial features” really gives emphasis and form to the “face”

In Movement
The value in this picture is quite intense.  The light contrasting with the darkness (the road at night) gives the appearance that the cars are moving down the road.

The value in this image draws your focus to the centre.  As the lines move outwards, they become wider, giving an appearance of nearness as opposed to the “farness” of the small centre area.

Separating the surface
In each of the circular objects below, the value separates the suface.  each object gives the impression that there is a light source shining from our left.  The value here also gives the illusion that each object is more 3 dimensional rather than 2 dimensional.

An attempt at using Gestalt

February 20, 2009
Gestalt Face and Shirt/Tie

Gestalt Face and Shirt/Tie

Using the principal of Gestalt, I have created an interesting effect with this photo of a friend.  look at his tie…the shapes lead you to think there is continuation, the lines in the facial area arent actually his face, but give the appearance of his face.  The whole of the picture is greater than the sum of its parts.

Gestalt Diagrams

February 20, 2009

A few examples of Gestalt…
Gestalt designs

Its the HAT

Its the HAT

Smiley Gestalt

Smiley Gestalt