8th- Elements and Principles of Design Unit

During this unit we will be reviewing the Elements of Art and Principles of Design.  The elements and principles are important to help you understand how to create and discuss artworks in class.

Day 1- Research and Define Elements and Principles/ Brainstorming

The elements of art are the building blocks used by artists to create a work of art.

Elements are the things that make up a painting, drawing, design... 
Line is a dot that goes on a walk. Lines can organize, direct or separate. They can join elements or divide them. They can create shapes, be expressive, suggest an emotion, or create a rhythm.
Shape is a two- dimensional, self contained defined area of geometric or organic form. The three basic shapes: the circle, the square, and the triangle are considered to be the fundamental shapes found in all design.
Color is the part of light that is reflected by the object we see. In 2D we mix pigments to create new colors. Color is defined by hue and value and intensity.
Value is the lightness or darkness of an area or object. It adds dimension by creating the illusion of depth.
Space refers to the distance between elements that creates positive or negative spaces in a composition.
Texture is the look and feel of a surface (rough, smooth, soft, hard, glossy, etc) and it can be physical (realistic) or visual (implied). Texture adds richness and dimension to 2D works
Forms are 3-d shapes, such as pyramids and cubes.

Principles are what we do with these elements • Balance occurs when all the design elements are equally distributed through the design. There are essentially three types of balance: symmetrical, asymmetrical, and radial.
Contrast (Variety) stresses the visual differences in size, shape, and color between the elements to enhance the perception of a message intended. Contrast also draws and directs the viewer's attention to specific areas.
Emphasis indicates the most important element because it attracts the viewer's attention first and creates a focal point.
Rhythm is a pattern created by repeating elements. Rhythm also denotes the sequence to the viewing order.
Proportion (Scale) can attract in different ways. It can be use to draw attention to the unexpected or exaggerated. Overall size, monumental pieces are impact full while miniature has a sense of intimacy. Scale, alone, can change the meaning.
Unity is achieved when all the design elements relate to one another and project a sense of completeness. Artist and designers use the Gestalt Theory, the psychological process of perception, to create unity (also called harmony).

These are the Elements of Art and Principles of Design defined by The Getty Museum.

 You will use these worksheets to complete your brainstorming exercise. Create drawings in each box that represent the element or principle given.

Day 2- Day 8 - Elements and Principles of Design Accordion Book /Stencils

The rest of this week will be spent on creating an accordion style book that contains a visual representation of the elements of art and principles of design. You will also be creating a stencil to use to help create your illustrations in your book. A stencil is a thin sheet of cardboard, plastic, or metal with a pattern or letters cut out of it, used to produce the cut design on the surface below by the application of ink or paint through the holes.

 Here are some examples of finished accordion book projects. One side of the book contains elements, the other side contains principles. You will use the elements and principles from your brainstorming worksheet in your piece.


1. Measure 4 inch spaces around all 4 edges of your paper. Then connect the lines. Your paper should look like this. 

2. Cut your paper/ Throw away the small piece on the end.

3. Using one of your sections, create 4 different stencil design ideas.
The other two sections will create your accordion book.

4. Choose your favorite stencil idea and cut it out.
Trace your stencil in each box of your other two paper sections.
Trace the image on BOTH sides. In the end you should have traced your stencil 16 times.