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What are the building blocks of art, the elements of design?

shapes, forms, colors, line, textures, and space


Name the principles of design.

Balance, emphasis, rhythm, unity, harmony, movement, variety, proportion.


Each of the principles of design can be applied to each of the elements of design. Give examples.

Balance of color, balance of shape; variety of forms,


What is harmony?

using similar or compatible elements of design to achieve a feeling of coherence. All the elements and principles work together. Suggests carrying through a single unifying theme. a unique blend of unity & variety.


What is unity?

The coherence of all the parts of design that work together to create harmony. achieved by repetition, similarity or congruence of parts in a composition. This may be furniture similar in lines or styles, colors, patterns, or motifs.


What is the difference between unity and harmony?

Unity is the use of one particular element, such as texture or color, throughout the design. Harmony is a blended of elements, such as a family of colors.


What is meant by variety?

The use of differences or contrasts. Variety brings vitality, diversity, and stimulation to design. It may be subtle or a surprising contrast.


What is proportion?

Proportion encompasses both the relationship of one part of an object to its other parts or to the whole, as well as the relationship of one object to another.


What is the Golden Section or Divine Proportion?

A Greek philosophy or mathematical idea that there is a divine measurement, a ratio, that is most pleasing to the eye because it is divine and is seen all in nature.


What is the ratio of the Golden Section?



How do you draw a Golden Section rectangle?

Draw a square, put a point at the center of the bottom side, then draw a diagonal line from that point to the top corner. Using the top corner and the original center point at the bottom, with a compass draw an arc from top to bottom. Then draw a top line from the top corner of the square the same length as the point derived by the arc.


Explain how proportion is constant when using the Golden Section?

When the rectangle is divided into a square and a rectangle (the leftover part), the ratio remains 1:1.618. When each rectangle is further divided this way, the two sections created always remain a ratio of 1:1.618.


How is a spiral drawn from the Golden Section?

An arc is drawn from the two opposite corners of each square continually towards the center.


Why is the Golden Section called Divine Proportion?

Because it is found in all of creation from galaxies to seashells, pine cones, animal life,


How is balance achieved?

That quality in a room that establishes a sense of equilibrium and repose. It is a sense of weight as the eye perceives it. When the elements have an equality of importance or weight.


What is meant by emphasis?

Special attention or importance given to one part or element in a room, a focal point.


How can emphasis be achieved?

- placement, as in a one-point perspective;
- contrast, as in using light and dark;
- size;
- methods.


What is meant by rhythm?

The repetition of elements to create the illusion of movement. It assists the eye in moving easily about a room from one area to another, creating a flowing quality.


Define the design element "space".

area found within an enclosure, either real or perceived. (Fence, walls, borders, personal space).


What are the two most common problems regarding space?

Either the lack of space or too much space.


What are some things a designer can do to create apparent space?

1) Uncluttered openings can allow the eye to travel into other spaces.
2) Place large pieces of furniture near walls so that they do not interrupt the open space.
3) Use small-scale furniture, texture, and patterns.
4) Keep furnishings and accessories few in number.
5) Expose as much floor as possible.
6) Use mirrors to create an illusion of depth.
7) Unify the space as much as possible; wall to wall floor covering, floor to ceiling window treatments, and use colors, textures and patterns that blend rather than contrast.
8) Select light, cool colors that seem to expand space.
9) Light the perimeter of the room.


When space lacks definition, seeming to have no beginning or end, how can the designer make it appear more secure and intimate?

1) Subdividing the space physically and visually by placing furnishings perpendicular to walls.
2) Choose furnishings that vary in height to obstruct views.
3) Group furniture in clearly defined areas of activity.
4) Select large-scale furniture and pieces that sit on solid base skirts, obscuring the floor.
5) Break up the expansive area of wall and floors with contrasting colors, textures, and patterns.
6) Use warm, dark colors.
7) Use soft and rough textures to absorb sound and further feelings of privacy and intimacy.


What is meant by "line"?

Line forms the direction or feeling of a design.
Theoretically, line has only one dimension, but designers often use the term to describe the outline of a shape, space or dominant direction.


How can a designer skillfully utilize line?

Line can be used to:
(1) create a mood or feeling; (2) give direction to a room; (3) create an optical illusion; (4) achieve a feeling of balance and rhythm; (5) support a room’s focal point by directing the eye toward that feature; (6) give variety and unity to a room through the skillful blending of the various line types; and (7) seemingly alter the proportion of an object or entire room.


What effect can too much line have?

It can evoke a feeling of instability or chaos.


What type of psychological effect do vertical lines have?

They provide a feeling of height, strength, dignity, formality, and stabilized resistance to gravity. (Ex.: Columns, Furniture, Window Treatments)


What type of psychological effect do horizontal lines have?

They can create a feeling of repose and solidity, restfulness, relaxing, informality, and like vertical lines, also provide strength. (Ex.: Moldings, Beams, Bookcases, long, low furniture)


What type of psychological effect do diagonal lines have?

They give a room a feeling of action and movement. They are visual excitement. Diagonals may be used to make an object appear larger. Too many diagonals in a room may create a feeling of unrest (Ex.: Ceilings, stairs).


What type of psychological effect do circular lines have?

They have graceful and delicate effect on a room. (Ex.: Arches, Domes, Drapery Swags).


Circular lines fall into what 4 categories?

Large convex (upward); large concave (downward); long, flowing horizontal; and small curves (patterns).