Saturday, February 6, 2010

Design Elements

I am sorry this post it late as I was not feeling well over the past few days.

Design Elements are elements that build upon one another; compliment each other. Most of what I have read relates to art such as painting, sculpture and all forms of art beside paper crafting/art. Some of what I found is focused on scrapbook pages. I did glean much over the past few months that I apply to card making or at least try to, as well as other forms of paper crafts that I enjoy. Admittedly not scrapbooks which I tend to avoid.

I hope you find these helpful. Many you probably already follow, as I did, even if you did not know "what" it was. At the bottom I provide some internet resources for you to read for more in depth reading on the subject. 

*I use the word "eye" to mean the eyes of the onlooker/person viewing the project.

Focal Point: usually the largest part of the scrapbook page or card . This is what you use to draw attention. On a card it is usually the image, while in scrapbooks it would be a photo.

Line: lines can be straight or curved. They should follow the natural lines of the subject or can be used to guide the eye. In card making, as you color an image, you will want to follow the  natural curve of an animals shape for example. A scrapbook  example would be to make sure a person in a photo does not look toward the outside of the page where the eye will automatically follow. Unless it is a two page spread which this can be used to guide the eye to the next page.

Point: The brain will automatically follow certain pattern. Having the focal point draw the attention of the viewer, their brain will instantly look for a pattern to follow. In card making or scrapbooks, this could be embellishments or smaller photos.

  • The "Z" pattern which is like reading,
  • The triangle pattern , having elements on a card or page create a triangle. Such as a flower on each of the upper corners with the focal point in the center of the card or layout.
  • A straight line in which elements draw a straight line. This can be a line of brad on a card or a row of three small photos on a scrapbook page.

Clustering: clustering elements around an image can create a frame for it. This can be used to draw the eye to the focal point.

Uneven Numbers: As I spoke about in my previous post, uneven numbers are much more appealing to the mind. Therefore, 3 in a cluster will look better than 4 or 5 brads in a line will look better than 6.

Echoing: Creating a connection. Using the same colors, patterns, embellishments, etc. on each page of a 2 page spread or the inside of a card.

Counter-Balance: To create even more visual interest you can use both horizontal and vertical lines together. For example, if your focal point creates a horizontal line, use vertical line elsewhere. Such as a photo or image that is wider than it is high, you can add ribbon/bow vertically.

Tilting: Not everything must be in straight lines horizontally or vertically to create visual appeal. Try tilting your photos on a page or a ribbon on your card.

Color: WOW, tons can be said about color. Enough to make a whole week or more of posts. Basically,  you want the colors to look good together; to compliment one another. Using primary, secondary, tertiary...colors for example.

Value: Value give the color a specific purpose, such as creating highlights/shines or shadows, or to give a sense of depth. A good rule to remember is that light colors bring the subject/area closer, while dark colors pull back.

Texture: This gives visual interest to the project. Adding texture can be as easy as using dimensionals as adhesive, embossing, distressing or adding embellishments such as brads and ribbon.

I know there are more Designing Elements, but these are some of ones I try to follow. I don't always remember them though, LOL

Here are the links I promised:

Six Visual Elements

The Elements of Design

John Lovett: The Elements of Design Elements of Design

Elements of Design: student handout Graphic Design Basics

Layouts for scrapbooks: 7 elements of design

Introduction to element design

Visual arts: elements and principles of design

Books: There are many books on the subject that can be found doing searches on Google, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc. The book that I first used and which prompted me to dig deeper is Design Elements published by Hot Off The Press

If you found this helpful, please let me know by leaving a comment.

Hugs, Sandy O


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