Vocabulary

Composition- The arrangement of elements in a work of art. All works of art have an order determined by the artist. Composition creates a hierarchy within the work, which tells the viewer the relative importance of the imagery and elements included.

Elements of Design

The basis of all design is the arrangement of the elements of a work of art, using the design principles. It is the bringing together of various components into one area and arranging them in such a way as to create a composition, layout or design that is both unified and pleasing to look at. For example every artist whether they realize it or not is familiar with the elements of a composition. These are:

Line - an actual or implied mark, path, mass, or edge, where length is dominant
Types:

Horizontal lines suggest a feeling of rest or repose because objects parallel to the earth are at rest. In this landscape, horizontal lines also help give a sense of space. The lines delineate sections of the landscape, which recede into space. They also imply continuation of the landscape beyond the picture plane to the left and right.

Vertical lines often communicate a sense of height because they are perpendicular to the earth, extending upwards toward the sky. In this church interior, vertical lines suggest spirituality, rising beyond human reach toward the heavens.

Diagonal lines convey a feeling of movement. Objects in a diagonal position are unstable. Because they are neither vertical nor horizontal, they are either about to fall or are already in motion. The angles of the ship and the rocks on the shore convey a feeling of movement or speed in this stormy harbor scene.

In a two-dimensional composition, diagonal lines can also indicate depth through perspective. These diagonal lines pull the viewer visually into the image. For example, in this photograph the diagonal lines lead the eye into the space to the point where the lines converge.

The curve of a line can convey energy. Soft, shallow curves recall the curves of the human body and often have a pleasing, sensual quality and a softening effect on the composition. The edge of the pool in this photograph gently leads the eye to the sculptures on the horizon.

Sharply curved or twisted lines can convey turmoil, chaos, and even violence. In this sculpture, the lines of the contorting bodies and the serpent help convey the intensity of the struggle against the snake's stranglehold.


Shape/ Form- any flat area bound by line, value, or color. Forms are 3-d. They contain the dimensions of length, width and depth• Space - the interval or measurable distance between objects or forms (two dimensional or three dimensional)

Geometric shapes and forms include mathematical, named shapes such as squares, rectangles, circles, cubes, spheres, and cones. Geometric shapes and forms are often man-made. However, many natural forms also have geometric shapes.

Organic shapes and forms are typically irregular or asymmetrical. Organic shapes are often found in nature, but man-made shapes can also imitate organic forms. This wreath uses organic forms to simulate leaves and berries.

Texture - The surface quality of an object that we sense through touch. All objects have a physical texture. Artists can also convey texture visually in two dimensions.

In a two-dimensional work of art, texture gives a visual sense of how an object depicted would feel in real life if touched: hard, soft, rough, smooth, hairy, leathery, sharp, etc. In three-dimensional works, artists use actual texture to add a tactile quality to the work.

Value - the degree of lightness or darkness of a given color

Color - Light reflected off objects. Color has three main characteristics: hue (red, green, blue, etc.), value (how light or dark it is), and intensity (how bright or dull it is). Colors can be described as warm (red, yellow) or cool (blue, gray), depending on which end of the color spectrum they fall.

Color harmonies serve to describe the relationships certain colors have to one another, and how they can be combined to create a palette of color.

* Complementary: A complementary relationship is a harmony of two colors on the opposite side of the color wheel. When complementary colors are placed side-by-side they tend to enhance the intensity (chroma) of each other, and when they are blended together they tend to decrease the intensity of each other.
* Analogous: An analogous relationship is a harmony of colors whose hues are adjacent to one another on the color wheel. Analogous colors tend to be families of colors such as blues (blue, blue-violet, blue-green) and yellows (yellow, yellow-orange, yellow-green).
* Triadic: A triadic relationship is a harmony of three colors equidistant from one another on the color wheel. Primary colors and secondary colors are examples of color triads.

Color spaces

Color is typically organized in a hierarchal fashion, based on how colors are mixed. A color space helps to define how the colors are mixed, based on the medium in which the colors are used. There are two different kinds of color spaces:

* Subtractive: A subtractive color space is the traditional color space that most people refer to when they talk about color. It is pigment-based color, as in the mixing of paint. In a subtractive color space, the pigments manipulate the wavelengths that our eyes see. The absence of any pigment produces white, and all pigments blended together produces black.
o Primary colors: Red, yellow, blue
o Secondary colors: Orange, green, violet
* Additive: An additive color space is an electronic color space. It is light-based color, as in the mixing of color on the computer. In an additive color space, light is added to the screen in differing amounts to produce color. The absence of any light is black, the presence of all light, or light at full intensity, is white.
o Primary colors: Red, green, blue
o Secondary colors: Yellow, magenta, cyan



Space- the interval or measurable distance between objects or forms (two dimensional or three dimensional) can indicate a feeling of depth on a 2 dimensional surface. Space also refers to areas of positive and negative space.

Principles of Design

The principles of design, sometimes referred to as the principles of organization are:

Balance - Balance is an equilibrium that results from looking at images and judging them against our ideas of physical structure (such as mass, gravity or the sides of a page). It is the arrangement of the objects in a given design as it relates to their visual weight within a composition. Balance usually comes in two forms: symmetrical and asymmetrical.
Symmetrical

Symmetrical balance occurs when the weight of a composition is evenly distributed around a central vertical or horizontal axis. Under normal circumstances it assumes identical forms on both sides of the axis. When symmetry occurs with similar, but not identical, forms it is called approximate symmetry. In addition, it is possible to build a composition equally around a central point resulting in radial symmetry1. Symmetrical balance is also known as formal balance.

Asymmetrical balance occurs when the weight of a composition is not evenly distributed around a central axis. It involves the arranging of objects of differing size in a composition such that they balance one another with their respective visual weights. Often there is one dominant form that is offset by many smaller forms. In general, asymmetrical compositions tend to have a greater sense of visual tension. Asymmetrical balance is also known as informal balance.

Movement - the suggestion of action or direction, the path our eyes follow when we look at a work of art Movement can be defined as motion of objects in space over time, and is often described in one of two ways:

* Literal: Literal movement is physical movement. Examples of literal movement include: Products such as the automobile, motion pictures and dance.
* Compositional: Compositional movement is the movement of the viewer’s eye through a given composition. Compositional movement can be either static or dynamic. Static movement jumps between isolated parts of a composition. Dynamic movement flows smoothly from one part of the composition to another.


Rhythm is the repetition or alternation of elements, often with defined intervals between them. Rhythm can create a sense of movement, and can establish pattern and texture. There are many different kinds of rhythm, often defined by the feeling it evokes when looking at it.

Regular: A regular rhythm occurs when the intervals between the elements, and often the elements themselves, are similar in size or length.
Flowing: A flowing rhythm gives a sense of movement, and is often more organic in nature.
Progressive: A progressive rhythm shows a sequence of forms through a progression of steps.


Emphasis - the stress placed on a single area of a work or unifying visual theme

Contrast - the difference between elements or the opposition to various elements

Proportion - the relation of two things in size, number, amount, or degree. It is the relationship in scale between one element and another, or between a whole object and one of its parts. Differing proportions within a composition can relate to different kinds of balance or symmetry, and can help establish visual weight and depth.

Unity - the relationship between the individual parts and the whole of a composition.The concept of unity describes the relationship between the individual parts and the whole of a composition. It investigates the aspects of a given design that are necessary to tie the composition together, to give it a sense of wholeness, or to break it apart and give it a sense of variety.

Dominance relates to varying degrees of emphasis in design. It determines the visual weight of a composition, establishes space and perspective, and often resolves where the eye goes first when looking at a design. There are three stages of dominance, each relating to the weight of a particular object within a composition.

Dominant: The object given the most visual weight, the element of primary emphasis that advances to the foreground in the composition.

Sub-dominant: The element of secondary emphasis, the elements in the middle ground of the composition.

Subordinate: The object given the least visual weight, the element of tertiary emphasis that recedes to the background of the composition.

Rule of Thirds- The rule of thirds is a compositional tool that makes use of the notion that the most interesting compositions are those in which the primary element is off center. Basically, take any frame of reference and divide it into thirds placing the elements of the composition on the lines in between.

Typography is the art of arranging typefaces, selecting style, line spacing, layout and design as a means of solidifying language. There are many facets to typography, and only a brief investigation will be started here based around some common terms.

* Baseline: The line on which all letters rest.
* Beardline: The line reached by the descenders of lowercase letters.
* Bowl: The round or elliptical parts of a letterform.
* Cap line: The line reached by the top of uppercase letters.
* Counter: The white space enclosed by a letterform, whether completely or partially.
* Extenders: Extenders are the parts of letters that extend either below the baseline (descenders) or above the midline (ascenders).
* Midline: The top of lowercase letters such as a, c, e and the top of the torso of lowercase letters such as b, d.
* Serif: A stroke added to either the beginning or end of one of the main strokes of a letter.
* Stem: The main stroke of a letter that is generally straight and not part of a bowl.
* Topline: The line reached by the ascenders of lowercase letters.
* X-height: The distance between the baseline and midline of an alphabet. The x-height is usually the height of the unextended lowercase letters.