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Elements/Principles

Elements of Art and Principles of Design

TermDefinition
Line An element of art defined by a point moving in space. Line may be two-or three-dimensional, descriptive, implied, or abstract.
Shape An element of art that is two-dimensional, flat, or limited to height and width. Shapes may be geometric (based on math) or organic (found in nature).
Form An element of art that is three-dimensional and encloses volume; includes height, width AND depth (as in a cube, a sphere, a pyramid, or a cylinder). Form may also be free flowing.
Value The lightness or darkness of tones or colors. White is the lightest value; black is the darkest. The value halfway between these extremes is called middle gray
Space An element of art by which positive and negative areas are defined or a sense of depth achieved in a work of art .
Color An element of art made up of three properties: hue, value, and intensity.
Hue The name of color. For example, "Blue".
Intensity The quality of brightness and purity of color (high intensity= color is strong and bright; low intensity= color is faint and dull)
Texture An element of art that refers to the way things feel, or look as if they might feel if touched.
Rhythm A principle of design that indicates movement, created by the careful placement of repeated elements in a work of art to cause a visual tempo or beat
Balance A way of combining elements to add a feeling of equilibrium or stability to a work of art. Major types are symmetrical and asymmetrical.
Emphasis A way of combining elements to stress the differences between those elements.
Proportion A principle of design that refers to the relationship of certain elements to the whole and to each other.
Harmony/Unity A way of combining similar elements in an artwork to accent their similarities (achieved through use of repetitions and subtle gradual changes)
Movement A principle of design used to create the look and feeling of action and to guide the viewer’s eye throughout the work of art.
Created by: MrsBrune