The elements

The basic elements of design are


A line is a fundamental mark or stroke used in drawing in which the length is longer than the width. Two connected points form a line and every line has a length, width, and direction if it is straight.

Lines and curves are marks that span a distance between two points (or the path of a moving point). As an art element, line pertains to the use of various marks, outlines and implied lines in artwork and design. A line has a width, direction, and length. A line’s width is sometimes called its “thickness”. Lines are sometimes called “strokes”, especially when referring to lines in digital artwork.


  • A line that defines or bounds an edge, but not always the outside edge, could represent a fold or color change.
  • A line that defines the edge of space can also be created by a gap of negative space. Many uses include separating columns, rows of type, or to show a change in document type.
  • Lines are used in linear shapes and patterns to decorate many different substrates, and can be used to create shadows representing tonal value, called hatching.


Color is the element of art that is produced when light, striking an object, is reflected back to the eye. There are three properties to color. The first is hue, which simply means the name we give to a color (red, yellow, blue, green, etc.). The second property is intensity, which refers to the vividness of the color. For example, we may describe an intense blue color as “bright, rich, and vibrant”. We may conversely describe a low-intensity blue color as “dull, subtle and grayed”. A color’s intensity is sometimes referred to as its “colorfulness”, its “saturation”, its “purity” or its “strength”. A color’s perceived intensity is related to its perceived brightness (brighter colors are more intense). The third and final property of color is its value, meaning how light or dark it is. The terms shade and tint are in reference to value changes in colors. In painting, shades are created by adding black to a color, while tints are created by adding white to a color.


  • Can aid organization, so develop a color strategy and stay consistent with the colors.
  • it can give emphasis to create a hierarchy and the piece of art


  • Hue
  • Values/intensity
  • tints and shades
  • Saturation and brightness


A shape is defined as an area that stands out from the space next to or around it due to a defined or implied boundary, or because of differences of value, color, or texture. All objects are composed of shapes and all other ‘Elements of Design’ are shapes in some way. Shape pertains to the use of areas in two-dimensional space that can be defined by edges. Shapes can be geometric (e.g., square, circle, hexagon, etc.) or organic (such as the shape of a puddle, blob, leaf, boomerang, etc.). Shapes are defined by other elements of art: Line, Form, Space, Value, Color, Texture.


  • Mechanical Shapes or Geometric Shapes are the shapes that can be drawn using a ruler or compass. Mechanical shapes, whether simple or complex, produce a feeling of control or order.
  • Organic Shapes are freehand drawn shapes that are complex and normally found in nature. Organic shapes produce a natural feel.


Meaning the way a surface feels or is perceived to feel. Texture can be added to attract or repel interest to an element, depending on the pleasantness of the texture.

Types of texture

  • Tactile texture is the actual three-dimension feel of a surface that can be touched. Painter can use impastoto build peaks and create texture.
  • Visual texture is the illusion of the surfaces peaks and valleys, like the tree pictured. Any texture shown in a photo is a visual texture, meaning the paper is smooth no matter how rough the image perceives it to be.

Most textures have a natural touch but still seem to repeat a motif in some way. Regularly repeating a motif will result in a texture appearing as a pattern.


In design, space is concerned with the area deep within the moment of designated design, the design will take place on. For a two-dimensional design space concerns creating the illusion of a third dimension on a flat surface.

Space is an area that an artist provides for a particular purpose. Space includes the background, foreground and middle ground, and refers to the distances or area(s) around, between and within things. There are two kinds of space: negative space and positive space.

Uses and effects

  • overlap is the effect where objects appear to be on top of each other. This illusion makes the top element look closer to the observer. There is no way to determine the depth of the space, only the order of closeness
  • Shading adds gradation marks to make an object of a two-dimensional surface seem three-dimensional.
  • Highlight, Transitional Light, Core of the Shadow, Reflected Light, and Cast Shadowgive an object a three-dimensional look.
  • Linear Perspective is the concept relating to how an object seems smaller the farther away it gets.
  • Atmospheric Perspective is based on how air acts as a filter to change the appearance of distance objects.


Form is any three-dimensional object. Form can be measured, from top to bottom (height), side to side (width), and from back to front (depth). Form is also defined by light and dark. It can be defined by the presence of shadows on surfaces or faces of an object. There are two types of form, geometric (man-made) and natural (organic form).

Form may be created by the combining of two or more shapes. It may be enhanced by tone, texture and color. It can be illustrated or constructed. The form pertains to the volume or perceived volume. Three-dimensional artwork has depth as well as width and height.

Three-dimensional form is the basis of sculpture. However, two-dimensional artwork can achieve the illusion of form with the use of perspective and/or shading techniques.

Modern interior design features
The principles

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