Design Elements and Principles

This will be the second to last post before the CT+E journey finishes, and I’m going to spend it going over the basics, which I think is a nice conclusion.


The most basic element is a point. They have zero-dimensional structures and describe position and vertices very well. They are the origin for the other elements to prosper. The step-up is a line which is when a point traces out a straight path. They play an important role in displacement and the construction of shapes. A shape is a two-dimensional construct of line(s) and they can be used as the basis for space in a design. A form is the composition of shapes, which can be three-dimensional, and they describe the geometry of our world in a design-based system. Color gives rise to a new way of differentiation and adding aesthetic value. Value describes shading and depth in a design based system. Space is the lack of element, which is an element in and of itself, it describes openness. Finally, texture gives rise to ways objects can contrast each other in a design-based system.


The principles of design group the elements together to form a representational system. Harmony is the unity of the elements to form a cohesive whole. Many things can be harmonious: repetition, patterns, similarity, relationship all have some way to bring balance to a system. Symmetry describes the tension between two elements and whether they belong together or apart. Scale gives weight to the objects and gives rise to most significant parts of a design.

Design Elements and Principles

The elements and principles are hidden in our everyday lives, but are some of the most subtle ways to expand human knowledge.