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10 Basic Elements of Design & Their Importance [Hapy Guide]

Written By Zainab Aftab | Last Modified On April 22, 2024

Nowadays, creating designs that enhance user experience (UX) is important. Designs that are visually appealing as well as emotionally effective to target your audience are not very easy to create. There are certain rules and guidelines which help UX designers to shape a better user experience through certain elements of design.

Optimizing these elements is necessary and a top priority of designers as it forms the basic structure of a design that helps to communicate the intended message to the target audience. This is why these elements were created so that web designers can easily build the foundation of any web design. In this blog, you will learn what are the elements of design and why are they important for designers.

What Are the Main Elements in Design?

Elements of design are the minor details and aspects of a visual design that are necessary to highlight certain important components of a design. These are the building blocks that have a huge impact on how the final design looks to the audience.

While the fundamental building blocks of any image are the design elements, designers also rely on design principles, which are a set of guidelines for using the design elements in a way that results in aesthetically attractive compositions.

Shape, color, space, form, line, value, and texture are only a few of the fundamental components of any visual design known as the elements of design. To produce an image that can elicit a variety of emotions, evoke a certain atmosphere, or attract attention in a specific direction, graphic designers use design components.

Purpose of Elements of Design

The elements of design aid web designers in many steps of creating a successful user interface for their website, application, or software product. It gives inspiration or an idea for how to execute the fundamentals of a project. These elements were created so that web designers can naturally learn the foundation of web design and how to create visually appealing web designs.

Instead of spending years or a long amount of time to get the design right, beginner designers can learn the fundamentals of elements of design and execute a project with excellence. They act as the basic tips which shape the whole structure of a design project and add value to each phase. These elements also help in evaluating the composition of design work.

Why Are Design Elements Important?

The basic elements of design are important because they are the minor details that aid in the quality of graphic, web, and user interface design. These details cannot be overlooked as without them your content will be hard for users to perceive and you will not be able to evaluate your platform’s performance.

These elements are a source to create the architecture of your design that combines it in one piece. If any element is neglected then you might lose a chance of gaining customer satisfaction from one perspective of your design. Elements in design also help web designers to avoid common web design mistakes.

Also Learn about UX Engineer vs UX Designer. Who’s Better?

Difference Between the Elements and Principles of Design

Some people might confuse the elements of design to be the same principles of design, however, these are two different concepts. Elements of design act as basic building blocks that are used to build a composition but principles of design are rules and guidelines that help you understand how to execute a design process. Principles of design also help to decide how the elements will be used.

So in simple terms, principles of design are concepts and elements are the results of applying those concepts properly in design. Deep knowledge of both is necessary and helps in enhancing your design.

10 Elements of Design You Must Know

Now moving on to the main question, “what are the basic elements of design?”. There are 10 main elements that you must know of. Read about them in detail below:

  • Color
  • Line
  • Shape
  • Space
  • Typography
  • Texture
  • Size & Scale
  • Emphasis
  • Balance
  • Harmony

1- Color

One of the most important elements of visual design is color as it is useful for both the design team and the user. It is necessary to create a background for your website, app, or any interface, and also for designing other elements. It helps you to decide which elements you want to stand out by using different variations of colors to manipulate design elements.

It reflects the image and identity of a brand and lasts an impression on your user. Designers use color wheels to decide which colors are best suitable for a brand. The criteria for choosing colors also depend on the emotions of users attached to the brand.

The element of color also contains multiple characteristics:

  1. Hue
  2. Tint
  3. Tone
  4. Shade
  5. Saturation

You have to keep in mind all these characteristics while adding color to any part of an element. Moreover, there are two color systems in design; RGB and CMYK. RGB colors are produced by mixing primary colors together like red, green, and blue. On the other hand, CMYK systems stand for cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. These colors are to reduce the light that is reflected on a white background.

2- Lines

The most basic element is ‘line’ as it adds sequence to your design. In graphic design, a line is considered as any two connected points. They are very useful to draw the viewer’s attention to a specific area. Lines also add a hierarchal structure to your design. Lines have direction, they can be seen or not and can assist to guide the eye to a certain area of a web page. A line’s thickness can convey additional information. While tiny lines are the contrary, bold and broad lines can catch the eye.

It’s not necessary for lines to be solid. Lines that are dashed or dotted can also be employed and feel nicer than solid lines. Most people tend to think of straight lines as being steady and static. Curved lines, on the other hand, are dynamic and give your design energy.

3- Shape

Shapes are also very useful for adding interest to your design. They add emphasis to a portion of the page where they are used. There are tons of different shapes that are used for different purposes in web design. For example, lines are used on a homepage as a symbol of the menu box, or rectangular boxes are used to write descriptions of things. It’s up to you how you optimize your page design with shapes, but it is necessary to make these shapes interact.

There are three types of shapes:

1- Geometric

Geometric forms have structures that are frequently accurate and mathematical (squares, circles, triangles). You’ll see that designs from the Swiss graphic design movement of the 1950s tended to be dominated by geometric shapes.

2- Abstract

A simple representation of reality is represented by abstract shapes. A stick figure of a human is an illustration of an abstract shape. Most logos use abstract images to convey the nature of the firm. Big brands like Nike, Target, Spotify, and Apple usually have abstract logos. They are more aesthetically pleasing to convey a brand’s message.

3- Organic

Organic shapes frequently feel smooth and natural and lack sharp edges. A layout gains prominence from such kind of shapes.

4- Space

Space refers to the distance between elements and objects in your design. It is an element in itself! It is often called negative space or white space. A general impression is shaped by the portions of the website that are left blank, whether they are white or another color. Like any other element, negative space can be used to make shapes.

Shape and form are interdependent since altering either would have an impact on the other. Your design can be given a 3D quality through the spatial interaction between form and space, which can generate tension. You can use color, stack several parts, or add shadows to your design to give it a 3D aspect.

5- Typography

The most important element in both graphic design and web design is typography. The fonts you use to communicate with your readers whether you’re just like color, texture, or shape are very important. Although the content of the words is extremely useful, so is the way they are expressed.

6- Texture

You might be thinking why texture is important in a visual design when the design cannot be touched or physically felt by the audience. Well, it is still very important due to the look and impression it gives to your screen. On any two-dimensional surface, textures can give the impression of being more three-dimensional. It also aids in creating an engaging environment. So you cannot forget the texture while making your designs visually aesthetic for your audience.

7- Size & Scale

Now let’s discuss the main and most important element of design which is size and scale. Changing the size and scale of your objects, shapes, typography, and other elements emphasizes a point and adds interest. Besides a website will look very monotomous if all the elements are of the same size. But the degree of variation will be greatly influenced by the inside information. While subtle variations suit professional material, dramatic variations favor creative ventures.

In simple words, the size of each element also holds importance in web design. And the scale helps you to choose the right size and location for each element. With advanced tools, it is now easier for web designers to manage such elements.

8- Emphasis

When you want to highlight one thing over another, emphasis plays a crucial role. The emphasis factor is more about one object, color, or style taking the lead over another to create a striking contrast. Contrast attracts attention and establishes a focal point. Emphasis is also used in many other fields of design apart from web design such as fashion design, architecture design, landscape design, etc.

9- Balance

Can a design look symmetrical without balance? The answer is No. But balance is not just about symmetry. There are two types of balance: symmetrical and asymmetrical. Both can be achieved by properly optimizing the balance of elements in your design. Deciding if you want to go for symmetrical or asymmetrical depends on the content of your website and the niche it is related to.

10- Harmony

Moving forward to our last and also the most important element of design, harmony. According to Alex White, author of “The Elements of Graphic Design,” harmony is “The main purpose of graphic design.” So, it must be significant, you realize. When all the parts come together, there is harmony. There should be nothing extra. Just enough is always the right amount for great design. Before you declare the project finished, make sure all the details are in agreement with one another.

Conclusion

Design elements are one of the most important aspects of a design. They give your design the structure it needs to enhance user experience. These are the basic elements that designers have to learn properly so that they can polish their skills with good initial steps.

Elements of design are necessary to form the foundation of any successful web design. As a web designer, you should be aware of both the principles and elements of design. Principles of design in combination with the elements help you in deciding how to create a unique identity for your design. Learning how to properly execute both is necessary for designers to get maximum value from their visual designs.

FAQs

Which Principle of Design Is the Most Important?

In principles of design, hierarchy is the most important as it helps you to visually rank your design elements. It identifies the importance of the order of each element and gives priority accordingly. Other important visual design principles are contrast, balance, and emphasis.

What Are the Elements of Art?

The elements of art are the same as elements of design; color, form, line, shape, space, texture, and value. They act as tools that artists use to create their artwork while including rhythm, proportion, balance, unity, emphasis, movement, and variety.

How the Elements of Design Help To Deliver the Message?

If you want to deliver the right message to your audience through design, then you have to make it easier, simpler, and according to the personality of your audience. Then the visual similarities between the design and customer perspective help you to deliver the message.