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Principles of Design

What are the principles of design?

The Principles of Design are the rules we apply to how we use the Elements of Art

Depending on who you ask the actual number of Principles may vary.  For now we will focus on the following:


  • Contrast 

  • Balance

  • Emphasis

  • Movement

  • Rhythm

  • Pattern

  • Unity

These Principles work together with the Elements of Art to create compositions that we understand and are aesthetically pleasing to the eye.

In other subjects there are rules to follow with how we communicate.  In Mathematics we use numbers, equations and formulas to communicate.  In Languages we use words, sentences, following rules of grammar. The same applies to the Visual Arts - we use the Elements of Art as the building blocks of our art language and the Principles of Design are the rules for how we use them.

The 7 Principles of Design from above along with a few extra - which ones are they?


Principles of Design


Test your understanding of how

the Elements of Art and Principles

of Design work together with this "elem_principles" matrix. 

Use the example at the right to get started.

elem_principles matrix

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