Emphasis and Contrast
Proportion and Scale
Rhythm and Pattern
Unity and Harmony
Emphasis - when the artist creates an area of the composition that is visually dominant and commands the viewer's attention. This is often achieved by contrast.
Contrast - the difference between elements of art in a composition, such that each element is made stronger in relation to the other.
This image uses color , texture, and shape to achieve contrast, and emphasis of the red pixelated video game critter against the yellow brick wall.
This image uses the lines of two arms against a stark black backdrop to draw emphasis to one hand grasping at the pinkie finger of another. The contrast of the body parts against the empty backdrop also draws a clear emphasis as well.
Scale - the size of an object (a whole) in relationship to another object (another whole).
Proportion - The juxtaposition of elements of different sizes in relationship with each other as parts of a whole (such as parts of a human body).
This image provides an example of scale as the flower provides a scale reference for the car.
This image demonstrates the importance of proportion to the conception of a hand. The right proportions shape the concept of a hand.
Balance - the distribution of the visual weight of objects, colors, texture, and space.
If the design were a scale, these elements should be balanced to make a design feel stable.
It provides a sense that a work "feels right"
Balance can be achieved several ways:
this image of a display of collared shirts in an illuminated display shows a well-balanced symmetry
this image of a fern is a good example of radial symmetry because the leaves flow out from a central point providing equal balance
this abstract photograph of a white slatted architectural feature bisected diagonally by a strong black shadowy area is a good example of asymmetrical balance
Movement - the result of using the elements of art such that they move the viewer's eye around and within the image.
The shape of this stretching cat's body creates a sense of movement through line and shape within this image.
Rhythm - A continuance, a flow, or a feeling of movement achieved by the repetition of regulated visual information. Rhythm relies on variety.
Pattern - The use of the same or a similar element repeated again and again can give a work a sense of movement or structure. Where an element is similar enough and repeated often enough, it can create a pattern. Pattern relies on consistency.
Rhythm can be a bold progressive development like the above image of angular lines emerging from a black diamond.
Rhythm can also be a variety of repeated shapes of different sizes and shapes, like these organ pipes.
Rhythm can also flow in and out of focus like these uniform storage boxes.
Pattern is something that repeats persistently and consistently, such as this metal grid.
Patterns can also take a more freeform flow, like this paisley design.
Unity - the feeling of harmony between all parts of the work of art, which creates a sense of completeness.
Harmony - The combination of similar elements creates an anesthetically pleasing overall effect--it is how elements and principles work together for the overall cohesiveness of the work.
The colors, values, lines, texture, contrast, emphasis, and movement of this photograph create a harmonious and unified work.
When a work has Unity, it looks right and everything works together. The result is a pleasing feeling, that everything is right with the work.
This photo stages a variety of objects that use shape, line, color, texture, and emphasis to create a harmonious and united image.