Principles of Art and Design

Certain qualities inherent in the choice and arrangement of elements of artin the production of a work of art. Artists "design" their works to varying degrees by controlling and ordering the elements of art. Considering the principles is especially useful in analyzing ways in which a work is pleasing in formal ways. Some principles overlap or oppose others, and some are viewed as more important, more ideal, more relevant or irrelevant (or even undesirable) than others. The common principles of design or art are:


•    Balance (symmetry, asymmetry, and radial)


•    Emphasis (largely synonymous with dominance)


•    Harmony (compare to unity, tension, and variety)


•    Eurythmy (a combination of harmony, proportion, and movement)


•    Horror vacui (in contrastto limitation, and emphasisor dominance, the principle most often cited as undesirable)

Limitation (in contrastto horror vacui, and emphasisor dominance)




The common principles of art or design are:


•    Movement


•    Pattern (often paired with rhythm)


•    Proportion


•    Rhythm (often paired with pattern)


•    Tension (compare to unity, harmony, and variety)


•    Unity (largely synonymous with coherenceand homogeneity)


•    Variety (often contrastedwith unity)





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