The 7 elements of design are space, line, shape/form, size/scale, colour, texture, and value. All 7 are imperative to creating visually communicative and appealing designs.
#1 – Space
Space refers to both the positive and negative space in a design. The positive space being where everything is displayed (images, text, etc). And the negative space being empty. More correctly, negative space is where only a solid colour is displayed. Whether that is red, blue, black, or white!
#2 – Line
Lines are everything. Seriously.
They make up the shapes of letters, illustrations, and images. They guide your eye through an image. They invisibly form margins and the horizontal line for your text to sit on.
When used well, lines (both visible and invisible) can guide one’s eye through a design in a pleasing and informative way.
#3 – Shape/Form
Shape/form includes both inorganic and organic shapes.
Inorganic shapes are precisely geometric. So perfect circles, squares, rectangles, etc. are all inorganic shapes.
Organic shapes are more natural looking. In other words, they are not geometrically precise. Every rock is a slightly different shape. We could shave the rock down to create a perfect circle, but it would no longer be an organic shape.
#4 – Size/Scale
Size is one of the mainstays of determining importance in a design. The larger the text or image, the more importance it invokes.
#5 – Colour
Colour can be used to draw attention, evoke emotion, and/or create order. (For more on colour click here!)
#6 – Texture
Texture in a design can be accomplished with both illusion or physical texture. To create the illusion of texture, one must be creative in their use of line and shape. To create physical texture, one can use different types of paper (gloss, matte, bumpy, etc.).
#7 – Value
Value is the tones of light and dark within a design. Value can vary with the use of all the shades of grey between white and black. Every colour has value. There are dark reds and light reds and reds of every shade between.
To really see the value of colours in an image or design, change the image to greyscale. If the image has varying colour values, the image will still be clear and crisp. However, if the image lacks variance in its value, the picture will become dull and/or muddy.
Which element of design is most important to you? (I honestly cannot decide. In the end, they must work together to create a truly wonderful design!)