7 Essential Elements of Design

Design elements are the fundamental aspects of any visual design that include shape, color, space, shape, line, value and texture. The 7 elements of the design take into account space, line, shape, light, color, texture and pattern. A balance of these elements is vital for every plan. The seven basic elements of graphic design are line, shape, color, texture, type, space and image.

Each has its own strengths and weaknesses. Mastering these basics can take your graphic design portfolio to the next level. The 7 elements of the design are Point, Line, Shape, Space, Shape, Color and Texture. Lines create division and hierarchy within a design and can help direct the reader's attention to a specific information or a chosen focal point.

A shape is formed when a two-dimensional line encloses an area. The shapes are usually geometric, such as circles, triangles and squares, but they can also be organic, such as plants and animals. Simple forms are easier to understand than complicated ones. Direction defines how the eye moves around the page or over a particular design - sometimes referred to as “flow”.

Our eyes flow naturally from the top left of a page to the bottom right, and the most effective designs often take advantage of this natural flow. Different directions can also inspire different reactions from your readers. For example, a design that directs the reader's eye horizontally may suggest calm and stability, while the vertical direction may suggest balance and formality. Texture refers to the surface quality of a shape.

It can be tactile or purely visual. The texture creates a more dynamic and visually interesting experience, and can also add depth to your designs. Learn more about using textures in your graphic designs. The texture of felt is subtle and is commonly used for brochures and printed covers.

Not to be confused with translucent vellum paper, vellum textured paper looks soft but has a fine texture. Linen textured paper mimics the look and feel of linen fabric - commonly used for a number of paper projects including wedding stationery, personal and business correspondence, and homemade greeting cards.Color can have a significant impact on the look, feel and readability of your design. The choice of color can also influence how the reader perceives your design when creating a particular mood or sensation. Read our introduction to color theory to learn more.

The value refers to the lightness or darkness - also known as “tone” - of a color. Low key values are mostly dark, while high key values are bright or faded. Understanding these elements will allow you to use them effectively in your creative work, and will provide you with enormous benefits for your artistic development and continuous personal improvement. You can create flow within your design by organizing your elements in a way that naturally encourages the view of your readers to travel in the desired direction. White space gives design elements breathing space and helps to improve the visual hierarchy - the way the eyes navigate the design. The 7 elements of the design are designed to help you balance the interior scheme so that the final look is aesthetically pleasing and functional. Design elements are the basic units of a work of art or design, while design principles are used to organize these elements.

But the design goes beyond these principles: designers must also take into account the elements of the design. There are fundamental design principles that work in conjunction with specific elements of visual design. While easily overlooked, negative space is an important design element that provides organization and clarity to a composition. Now that you understand the 7 elements of visual design, start to notice how all of them are used in design everywhere around you. It highlights important elements and makes it easier for the viewer to capture the main message of your digital design. You can use design elements in any shape or design that requires text, images and ideas to express something unique - from posters and billboards to brochures and packaging. Negative space refers to the area surrounding the design elements that forms an interesting way to enhance the design.

In this web design example, notice how large samples of gradients and blurred shapes are added as background elements to give a sense of texture.

Gloria Foulke
Gloria Foulke

Wannabe twitter lover. Freelance social media maven. Friendly twitter nerd. Hipster-friendly zombie advocate. Avid zombie practitioner. Amateur baconaholic.