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Design Elements & Principles

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Sharyn Lovelock

on 17 October 2014

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Transcript of Design Elements & Principles

Design Elements & Principles
Line is used to create a specific view or to direct the eye.
Each has an impact on how you perceive space.
It represents continuous movement on a surface.
Edges of shapes and forms also create lines.

Shape is a defined area that stands out from the space around it due to a defined or implied boundary or difference of:

Symmetry & Balance

Symmetrical Balance:
symmetrical balance is achieved when items are repeated or mirrored along a central axis.
Symmetry is common in interior design and can give a feeling of stability, calmness and dignity. However, it can been seen as dull and unimaginative.
Symmetry can be achieved by placing matching vases on either side of a large painting or mirror.

Repetition is the simplest way to attain rhythm. This can be achieved by repeating any of the elements of design such as line, colour, texture & pattern.
Image retrieved from: http://enpundit.com/andy-warhol-inspired-campbell-soup-pop-art/ 13/9/14
Contrast can be used to create interest in a room.
Colour contrast is the obvious form of contrast. Something as simple as a black cushion on a white couch. Opposition can also be implied by contrasts in form, by using circles and squares together. or through a mix of contemporary with antique. Using a modern painting is a traditional room. Mismatching chairs at a table.
Emphasis is the creation of a focal point. A focal point should be an area that is visually important enough to draw and hold attention. This can be done in a number of different ways: A grouping of artwork, a fireplace, ornamental staircase, large windows, a high or ornate ceiling.
Harmony is the visually satisfying effect of combining similar related elements, helping the design to seen as unified, gives the sense of all the elements belonging with and compliment one another.
Harmony pulls the pieces of the visual image together.

Reference List- Content
There is a hierarchy of patterns when using more than one pattern:
Dominant (Main pattern)
Balance is the equal distribution of visual weight in a room. There are three styles of balance: symmetrical, asymmetrical and radial.
Asymmetrical Balance:
asymmetrical balance relates very strongly to the visual weight of objects, rather than repeating the same item to achieve space. Asymmetrical interiors tend to feel more dynamic and less rigid as these spaces tend to have a variety of objects working together to create balance.
Radial Balance:
Radial balance is almost circular. when elements of design arranged around a centre point either extending outward or inward. This could be as simple as chairs centred around a table, or even a circular lighting fixture.
Repeating visual elements tends to unify the total effect. Repetition with variation is interesting, without variation can be seen as monotonous. To keep interest, any repeating element should include a degree of variation.
Repetition establishes rhythm through the repetitive use of an element. Rhythm is the path that your eye follows. You can use several photos in the same type of frame to create repetition and rhythm.
Contrast can be considered jarring, and is generally used to enliven as space, and to create interest and individuality. It needs to be used according to the style with restraint or can lead to confusion.
Contrast is best explained as 'Opposites Attract'. It is achieved in all elements of design by using one element that is different in color or shape among objects.
Each room should have on or more focal points. A focal point is the visual centre of attraction in any given room, with all the other design elements leading all attention to that point. This can be achieved with colour, texture, size & positioning.
Variety can be seen through a selection of different colours, textures, furniture. It can be achieved through the contrast of soft materials with hard materials
Unity is when the elements in the space combine to make a balanced harmonious space. The end result is a pleasing feeling, that everything is 'right' within the space.
In commercial interior design, pattern is often applied using wall coverings, tile, carpeting, and other graphic elements. Like texture, pattern can also define surfaces, impact scale, convey a design style, and add visual interest to a space. Be careful when applying pattern; if it’s not well balanced it can really overwhelm an interior environment.

Patterns are exciting to use & can lift a scheme from plain & ordinary to the spectacular. Pattern like contract, can be difficult to manage correctly. However when done so, can create amazing spaces. The most common patterns used in interior design are:


The element of pattern works in conjunction with color. It is used in interior design to add life and interest to the furnishings in a room. It works like texture to provide interest to surfaces. Patterns are created by using repetitive designs in fabrics, rugs, paint techniques and wallpaper. Just think how dull a room would be without pattern!
The first element of space refers to the actual building or room that the interior designer can work with. This is the basic structure of the room or building including the walls, floors, ceiling, doors and windows as well as the beams and columns that support the structure. This is the “blank canvas” so to speak that the designer works with to enhance style and functionality.

The contour of an object makes up its shape. For example, a tabletop can be round, rectangular, square, or oval.
Shape is two-dimensional. In a room, walls, rugs, and pictures are all two-dimensional shapes. When a third dimension is added to a shape, it becomes form or mass because depth is added.
A bookcase has form because it has height, width, and depth. Furniture creates form and its arrangement in a room can create different effects. For example, large heavy objects like a piano or sofa can give a feeling of stability. If there is too much variety in shapes and forms in a room, the result is a feeling of confusion. If there is no variety of shape and form, the result is monotonous.
Horizontal Line
Lines applied horizontally often evoke feelings of stability, grounding, emphasis and direction. Can create peaceful, informal spaces. Are often used to make a room feel less formal.
Horizontal lines tend create length and can make a room feel wider. Lower the ceiling of a space they can also be applied to direct the viewer to a particular focal point.
Vertical Line
Vertical lines are often associated with strength and power, stability, balance, and elevation.
Viewing vertical lines is considered unnatural compared to viewing horizontal lines. As vertical lines extend away from our visual plane, the length of a line applied vertically is often extended lending to the feeling of height in a space.
Vertical lines in furniture create a more formal atmosphere.
Diagonal Line
Diagonal lines typically bring a sense of dynamic movement, transformation, and freedom. Diagonal lines can really bring life to a space, direct the eye upwards or downwards, and add volume to a space, making it feel larger than it is.
As diagonal lines attract attention, they can be off putting, and if applied incorrectly, diagonal lines can conjure a sense of confusion and imbalance.
Curved Line
Curved lines give a room an atmosphere that is 'soft' and 'light'. Keeping rooms feeling 'rigid'. Need to keep balanced or will become to feminine Curving lines whether freeform, arcing, circular, or elliptical often feel natural, organic, playful, and soothing. If you are looking to make a space flow curving lines are a great way to do it. They are also very voluminous taking up space within an interior.

1. Line Image retrieved from: http://hatchdesign.ca/elements-of-design-part-1-line/ on 10/10/2014
2. Line Image retrieved from: http://www.imagointeriors.com.au/pages/interior-design-elements.html on 20/9/2014
3. Line image Image retrieved from: http://www.marvelbuilding.com/decorating/decorating-ideas/staircase-design pn 13/09/2014

4. Patter Image retrieved from: http://liftupthyneighbor.com/new-2013-interior-design-trends on 20/09/2014
5. Pattern Image retrieved from: http://cimots.com/interior-design-and-decor/excellent-interior-design-of-safely-playing-pattern-with-colors.html 10/10/2014
6. Pattern Image retrieved from: http://www.everything-moroccan.com/moroccan-tiles.html on 12/9/2014

7. Shape Image retrieved from: http://www.designswan.com/archives/beautiful-and-wonderful-shell-shaped-house-in-mexico.html on 14/9/14
8. Shape Image retrieved from: http://freshome.com/2013/10/10/extravagant-office-desk-showcasing-a-fluid-shape-evfyra-table-by-nuvist/ on 15/9/2014
9. Shape Image retrieved from: http://dornob.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/organic-curved-floating-home-interior1.jpg on 30/9/2014

10. Symmetry Image retrieved from: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-ZfnokTISTKg/Ui_r5PWcPwI/AAAAAAAAOCQ/WvwrQNMQTok/s1600/418299ac29c89a2e90669b39482fbea2.jpg on 12/9/2014
11. Symmetry Image retrieved from: http://canadianhometrends.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/symetrical-spaces.jpg on 20/9/2014
12. Symmetry Image retrieved from: http://realrealtyla.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/mcdonald-1-de.jpg on 1/10/2014

13. Repetition Image retrieved from: http://wishatl.com/blog/image.axd?picture=2010%2F9%2FPaint-Cans2.jpg on 12/10/2014
14. Repetition Image retrieved from: http://calloohcallay.ca/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/arches.jpg on 20/9/2014
15. Repetition Image retrieved from: http://enpundit.com/andy-warhol-inspired-campbell-soup-pop-art/ on 12/9/14

16. Contrast Image retrieved from: http://www.gimp.org/tutorials/ContrastMask/ on 15/9/2014
17. Contrast Image retrieved from: http://www.kmpfurniture.com/newsletters/modern-furniture-and-good-design-create-style_10.jpg on 20/9/2014
18. Contrast Image retrieved from: http://image.guardian.co.uk/sys-images/Arts/Arts_/site_furniture/2008/05/08/intdes470x276.jpg on 10/10/2014

19. Emphasis Image retrieved from: http://widehdwalls.com/12466-beauty-in-contrast/ on 10/10/2014
20. Emphasis Image retrieved from: http://adesignersworld.blogspot.com.au/2010/09/interior-design-101-emphasis.html on 30/9/2014
21. Emphasis Image retrieved from: http://luxevictoria.ca/sites/default/files/Emphasis1.jpg on 13/9/14

22. Harmony Image retrieved from: http://beacont.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Comforting-and-Harmonious-Zen-Bedrooms18-615x300.jpg on 14/9/14
23. Harmony Image retrieved from: http://www.interiordesignarticle.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/green-living-room.jpg on 20/9/2014
24. Harmony Image retrieved from: http://www.kuraarasbasin.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/modern-staircase-interior-design-decoration-decorating-luxury-minimalist-inspiration-ideas-modern-cool-rooms-styles-decor-.jpg on 10/10/2014

Reference List- Photos
Depending on your choice and direction of line will determine what mood you are trying to create.
Texture and pattern have a huge role in defining the design style of a space. This is why in commercial interior design, it is very important that these elements are applied in a way that relate to the corporate brand of the business. Send the right message to your customers by applying the various elements of design in and effective way.
Harmony balances two sub principles: Unity & Variety:
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