The principles are effects created by using the elements in some way. The principles include: Balance, Contrast, Emphasis, Pattern, Repetition, Rhythm, Movement, and Unity. It is not possible to have the principles without the elements. For example, the principle of contrast (differences in light and dark) can be produced by using the element of tone.
A principle of art and design concerned with the arrangement of one or more of the elements so that give the sense of equilibrium in design, proportion, shapes, etc.
• There is balance when the parts of an image have the same visual weight
• Imbalance can create a sense of awkwardness or discomfort, and can be used to create tension or impact in an image.
• Balance can be symmetrical (formal) in which the parts are visually equal, such as two shapes of the same size. Symmetrical balance gives a sense of order, and stateliness.
• Asymmetrical (informal) balance may have parts that a re not identical, such as two small shapes balanced by one large shape. Asymmetrical balance gives the sense of activity and creates interest.
• Radial balance revolves around a real or imaginary central point.
A principle of art and design that juxtaposes strongly differing uses of one of more of the elements for effect.
• Contrast is created when two unlike qualities are placed together.
• Contrast can be achieved through the use of any of the elements.
• Contrast can be used to emphasize, dramatize, surprise or add variety to an image.
• Contrast can be high or low (strong or subtle). High contrast tends towards a more dramatic effect, while low contrast tends towards soothing and settling.
A principle of art and design concerned with making one or more element(s) stand out in such a way as to appear more important or significant.
• Emphasis is used to call attention to a specific area in an image.
• Emphasis is sometimes also referred to as the focal point or center of interest.
• Emphasis implies both dominant and subordinate areas.
• Emphasis can be achieved by: increased size, strong colour, greater detail, sharp contrast, distorted shape, placement in the composition, movement of the image leading the eye to a focal point.
Pattern and Repetition
Pattern is the principle of art and design concerned with the planned repetition of one of more of the elements.
Repetition is the principle of art and design in which one or more of the elements of an image appear again and again for effect.
• Pattern is created by the repetition of an element or similar elements.
• Variations of an element can be used to create pattern, such as varying sizes of shapes, or varying colours of a shape.
• Combinations of elements can be used in the creation of pattern, such as variations of colours, shapes, and textures.
• Pattern can be organized or random.
• Repeated pattern can create rhythm.
• Repetition in imagery occurs when elements or components that have something in common are repeated.
• The repetition can be regular or irregular.
• Regular repetition results in a formal rhythm.
• Varying the interval or the shapes in the repetition results in a more informal rhythm.
• The natural environment provides many examples of precise repetition.
• Repetition with variation is often more interesting.
• Repetition can have other effects in an image, for example, a colour repeated in different areas of a picture can increase its power.
• Repetition of certain elements within an image tends to hold the overall design together.
A principle of art and design that uses the regular movement or repetition of one or more elements of and image for effect.
• Rhythm, a vital and natural part of our universe, is created in an image through the repetition of certain components.
• A progressive continuity of the rhythm can be created by increasing or decreasing the elements in a series, such as smaller to larger, lighter to darker, rougher to smoother, etc.
A principle of art and design concerned with creating a feeling of action or a series of actions, and with guiding a viewer’s eye through an image.
• Movement is meant to show activity in an image.
• Movement is achieved by manipulating the element, such as the use of tonal gradation, repeated lines, etc.
• ‘Stop action’ images such as sports activities, show physical movement.
• Compositional movement is implied movement created by the repetition of shapes or lines.
• Compositional movement can also use lines or repeated colours or patterns to lead the viewer’s eye from place to place within the image.
A principle of art and design concerned with the arrangement of the elements of an artwork to created a coherent whole.
• Unity in an image is achieved when the elements work together to produce harmony, completeness, and a sense of order.
• Unity can be achieved though various elements, such as in the combination of similar colours, lines, shapes, etc.
• Lack of unity produces disharmony, incompleteness, disorder, and dissonance.
• However, unity without contrast can be uninteresting.