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What You Oughta Know About the Principles of Art

What You Oughta Know About the Principles of Art

The elements and principles of art and design hold the foundation of the art language.

On the one hand, the elements of art represent the visual tools that are used to create a composition, while the principles of art use these elements to create a mesmerizing effect and convey the artists’ intent of a piece. 

There are 7 principles of art: Balance, Contrast, Emphasis, Movement or Rhythm, Scale or Proportion, Pattern, and Variety or Unity. In addition to these principles, you can use elements like color, form, line, shape, space, texture, value, and saturation to make your art rise to a professional level. 

What Are the Principles of Art? 

The principles of art describe how the visual elements in a piece of art are structured.

These principles are the closest thing we have to a set of objective criteria for studying and judging the art.

Art techniques have evolved with time; for example, today’s acrylic paint is not the same as the earth-based paint used in cave art 30,000 years ago.

People have progressed, discovering new items and methods for obtaining minerals from the soil to create art.

Humans have constantly searched for new and better innovations, from the stone era to the bronze age to the iron age to the technological age.

Access to materials, on the other hand, is the most significant advantage for civilization transformation.

Almost every culture had access to clay and could make vessels out of it.

However, if a particular raw material was only available in one location, people might trade with others who needed it.

On historic trade routes, China, for example, produced and processed raw silk into magnificent cloth, which was highly sought after by the Venetians in Italy for clothes.

Art practices are regarded as the foundations of all types of art. When an artist studies the elements of art, they learn to combine them to produce visual elements in their work.

Methods can be used separately to come with a piece of art, such as a line and color combination.

Every work of art must contain at least one artistic element, and most works of art have two or more.

What is an Element in Art? 

Consider art elements as arrows in your quiver or tools in a toolbox. You can use them combined and separately for any art piece. 

  • Color
  • Form
  • Line
  • Shape
  • Space 
  • Texture 
  • Value
  • Saturation

Principles of Design/Principles of Art 

  • Balance
  • Contrast
  • Emphasis
  • Movement/rhythm
  • Scale/proportion
  • Pattern
  • Variety/unity

Why Are the Elements of Art Important? 

When it comes to principles of art, the elements of art hold significance for many reasons.

The first reason is that no art can be created without using at least one of the elements.

And if it was possible, we wouldn’t be talking about it. 

Secondly, utilizing the elements of art help us determine the following:

  • Analyze what a particular piece is about.
  • What an artist is trying to say through the art piece. 
  • Delivering our findings and thoughts using a common language. 

Here are some instances of a common language coming in handy for intelligent discourse.

Mathematicians use the word ‘algorithm,’ thinking that most people know the meaning, which is ‘a step-by-step procedure for carrying out computation.’

Similarly, musicians talk about the key of ‘A’ with such confidence that everyone knows what it means, ‘a pitch relating to 440 oscillations per second of vibration.’

And botanists would use the term ‘rosa rugosa’ rather than the much longer word ‘that old-fashioned shrub rose’ with the five-petaled flowers of different colors. 

The same goes for the elements of art. When you know each element of art, you will always put the right element in the world of art.

How Many Elements Should be in Every Piece?

Artists alter these aspects, combining them with design principles to create a work of art. Not all of these elements are present in every piece, but at least two are. 

Without a line, sometimes known as a moving point, art would be sunk.

While the line isn’t seen in nature, it is indispensable to display objects and symbols and determine the shape.

Form is a component of art as well. A form is a three-dimensional geometric figure that differs from a shape, which is two-dimensional or flat.

In a broad sense, form in art refers to all of a piece’s apparent aspects and how they are connected.

Form assists us to mentally capture and comprehend the work in this setting.

Texture, like form and space, is an aspect that can be actual, fabricated, or inferred.

How Are the Elements of Art Arranged?

The elements of art are arranged in the following manner:


The human eye perceives color as a visual perception. The color wheel is an excellent demonstration of color arrangement in art.

The three primary hues, red, yellow, and blue, are located in the middle of the color wheel.

The secondary colors are formed by the blending of two primary colors.

Purple is created when red and blue are combined, orange is created when red and yellow are combined, and green is created when blue and yellow are combined.

The tertiary colors, which blend a primary color and an adjacent secondary color, are in the outside circle.


Value describes how adding black or white to a color alters the shade of the original hue.

When using white or black with a color, it becomes darker or lighter, allowing painters to create gradations of one hue for shade.


When the color is in its purest form, it is basically completely saturated.

The three fully saturated hues are the primary colors in their purest form.

When white or black is introduced, the color becomes washed out as the saturation diminishes.

When a hue is brilliant, it is thought to be at its most intense.


Whether it’s the restrictions of a line in a painting or the edge of a sculpture, the form provides structure to a work of art.

It can be two-dimensional, three-dimensional with height and weight restrictions, or free-flowing. In a piece of work, the form also expresses all of the formal components of art.


In art, a line is essentially a dot or a succession of dots.

A line is formed by the dots, varying in thickness, color, and shape. Unless the artist adds volume or mass to a line, it is a two-dimensional shape.

When an artist employs several lines, the result is a drawing that is more identifiable than a line that creates a form that resembles the shape’s outside.

Lines can also be inferred, such as when a hand points up, and the viewer’s eyes follow it upwards without even seeing a true line.


The artwork’s shape can convey a variety of messages.

Whether the shape is two-dimensional or three-dimensional, it must have some sort of edge or limit.

The shape can be geometric (a well-known shape) or organic (unknown shape) (free form shape).

In most artworks, space and shape are inextricably linked.


Space refers to the region surrounding the art piece’s main point and can be positive or negative, shallow or deep, open or closed.

It also refers to the area surrounding an art form; in the case of a structure, it refers to the area behind, over, inside, or adjacent to it.

The shape of a structure or other work of art is determined by the area surrounding it.

The children are dispersed around the image, providing space between them and giving each figure its own identity.


To the touch, the texture might be rough or smooth, simulating a specific feel or feeling.

The texture of a surface also determines how your eye perceives it, whether it is flat with little roughness or has changed on the surface, simulating rock, wood, stone, or fabric.

With great brushwork and layers of paint, artists gave texture to buildings, landscapes, and portraits, creating the illusion of reality.


To sum it up, both principles and elements hold significance for the creation of art.

We can’t create a piece of art if one of them is missing. I hope that you find this blog about principles and elements of art helpful and informative. 

principles of art