a-quick-guide-to-good-designWhen you see something beautiful, why do you experience a sense of aesthetic delight? It is because of the skillful use of the elements and principles of design.

It takes a creative person to see things that only exist in their imagination and then express it in a memorable way. This ability to make beautiful things is called design.

Design is expressed in both art and science. Artists use paint or music to tell a story that evokes an emotional response while scientists use mathematics and language to represent a beautiful truth about reality.

Today, design is also expressed through technology. You can now make 3D representations of an idea. Many designers use software like TinkerCad to print out amazing 3D models of toys, jewelry, art, and home décor. 3D design is a primary intersection of design and mathematics because it uses technology to create spatial art.

If you like to create things and transform an idea or an object into a thing of beauty, you might be curious as to the secrets behind good design.

What is Good Design?

Good design consists of the elements and the principles of design.

Let’s take a closer look at 6 elements and 6 principles to understand this idea a little better.

Design Elements

Elements are found in nature.

Here are a few common elements.

  1. Color: Human beings have always been aware of color, but it was not until Sir Isaac Newton that we knew that all the colors of the rainbow could be found in white light. We also didn’t recognize that there are primary colors and secondary colors. Red, yellow, and blue are primary colors while orange, green and violet are secondary colors. Since many colors fall between these colors, we call them intermediate colors. An intermediate color can be produced by blending a primary and secondary color.
  2. Color values.Strictly speaking black and white are not colors. White is what happens when all colors combine in light, but in painting it is considered the absence of color. Black is what happens when there is an absence of light, but in painting it is a combination of all colors. This is useful to understand when creating color values. Colors can be made lighter or darker to create contrast, and to do this we add either black or white. We can change a color value by adding white, black, or gray.

Here is a brief description of color values:

  • ·  A color with white is a tint.
  • ·  A color with black is a shade.
  • ·  A color with gray is a tone.
  • ·  A hue is a tint, shade, or tone.
  1. Shapes and forms: In design, a shape is a two-dimensional object and has no volume while a form is a three-dimensional object with volume. Both shapes and forms are geometric. If you are doing 3D printing, you are creating forms.
  2. Space: The void in or around a shape or form is skillfully used by artists to make a piece of art beautiful.
  3. Lines: Lines define a space, and lines in drawing or painting can be straight or curvy, thick or thin, continuous or dashed, broken or dotted.
  4. Texture: Texture, like space, is everywhere, and it can be used to create a desired artistic effect. Although texture is found in nature, it can also be manufactured. Often, in design, texture is simulated to create an illusion. A painting of a cloth can be made to look soft and flowing while that of a rock can be made to look hard or coarse.

Design Principles

If elements are the natural raw materials that you are working with then principles are how you put things together in a pleasing way. Changing a marble block into a piece of sculpture is based on the use of design principles.

Here are some of the most important principles of design:

  1. Balance: Formal balance uses weight on both sides, informal balance uses uneven weight on both sides, and radial balance is circular balance, originating from a central point.
  2. Emphasis: Elements arranged by dominance or subordination create emphasis. In a painting, the large objects in the foreground dominate over the small objects in the background to create perspective.
  3. Movement: Movement is simulated by how elements are arranged in a design. In web design, the use of borders and graphics can create a sense of movement to make a static website look more dynamic. Additionally, the use of large images on a home page can make it look more vivid and exciting.
  4. Contrast: By contrasting various elements, you make something appear more interesting. The use of colors, textures, and patterns creates diversity. Using a single color, for example, may create unity, but it is also less attention-grabbing.
  5. Unity: This is the opposite of contrast. Sometimes too much contrast can make something look “busy.” The observer does not know what to focus on. By adding unifying elements like a color or a line, there is a sense of order and things working together.
  6. Proportion: Without proportion, there is no sense of balance, distance, or spaciousness. Proportion creates the right emphasis.

Art, music, science, and mathematics use many elements and principles of design. Design is a blend of talent, creativity, thoughts, feelings, formulas, and abstract symbols. Design is closely linked to art and beauty, but it can also be used in a practical way. For instance, the use of design principles in something like data visualization can make it easier to understand complex information.

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