7 Elements of Design: What you need to Know in 2023

Is there anything you’ve ever pondered that left you wondering, “What constitutes a great design?” This will walk you through the 7 pillars of good design and suggest a seventh pillar that is particularly relevant in the modern era of digital design. We’ll break down the fundamentals and show you how to put them to use in your own work.

What Exactly Are the Design Elements?

Shape, color, space, form, line, value, and texture are all examples of design elements. Visual communicators, graphic designers employ visual elements to produce an image that can do anything from set a tone to direct the viewer’s attention. While an image’s foundation is laid using the elements of design, designers also rely on the principles of design—a collection of guidelines for arranging pieces in a form that’s aesthetically acceptable.

How do you create a design that stands out as exceptional? Is originality the only requirement? We provide a different explanation, one that involves a blend of ingenuity and forethought. Knowledge of these aspects and ideas is essential for the planning of any great piece of art.

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The design elements are the building blocks from which an artistic creation is fashioned. If you understand the basics and apply them to your work, you can make it effective enough to get your point across.

What are the most important factors to consider before putting pen to paper? If you want to take your work to the next level, consider using these seven fundamental design principles.


The term “form” is used to describe the aesthetic quality that dominates the negative space of your creation. When combined with physical space, it gives the impression of depth. The three-dimensional items range from cubes and pyramids to more abstract shapes. Using shadows, color, and layered objects, you may create the illusion of depth commonly associated with 3D graphics.

It’s often used in place of another design element called “shape,” however the two are not identical. Though the shape is two-dimensional and flat, the form is primarily three-dimensional and lifelike.


A shape is the result of a line enclosing a space or the combination of two or more other visual elements. Ultimately, everything we see is a shape in some form or another. However, shapes are especially significant to a designer since they form the basis of the most effective logos.

It’s possible for a shape to have either a geometric or organic quality. Accurate triangles, squares, and other geometric shapes are used. Curvier and more free-flowing in appearance, organic forms are closer to nature. They are irregular shapes found in nature and are characterized by their lack of symmetry.

Since shapes communicate a mood or send a message based on their form, color, texture, and other properties, creating a shape for your design piece requires careful consideration and expertise. Squares, for instance, are seen as more masculine because of their sharp corners, while triangles are used to draw focus to a specific area. To add, any design composition’s primary building pieces are abstract shapes.


A line is a basic line of design because it consists of only points. Lines can convey a wide range of emotions thanks to their shape, length, orientation, and even weight, all of which are independent of the points they join. For instance, while a straight line is more stable and orderly, a curving line is more expressive and exciting.

Straight, slanted, diagonal, and curved lines are all possible. You can add color, texture, and even motion to a line, and it can be drawn smoothly, roughly, brokenly, thickly, or thinly.

It can be used to visually separate elements in a design or website, to set the stage for a piece of art, and, well, you get the idea.


The use of color is crucial to the success of any design. It can be applied to any of the other visual aspects to give your work a distinct mood and flavor. If you want to use this design element correctly and pick the ideal colors for it, you should at least get familiar with color theory, the color wheel, color combinations, and the effects of various color schemes.

Generally speaking, the color blue is associated with a sense of calm, trust, and stability, while the more assertive color red can convey feelings of fervor, enthusiasm, and even rage. Knowing the psychology of colors can help you choose between red, blue, or even yellow, and guide your choices for complementary hues.

Color isn’t just a complement to the other design components; it can carry an entire project by itself. If you want to get your idea through quickly and effectively, stick to color and text in your design compositions.

You should also pay attention to the qualities of the colors you use:

The term “hue” is used to describe a color in its most elemental form. Pure colors include the likes of red, green, and magenta.

One way to describe the strength of a color is by its saturation. It can either intensify or dull colors.

Tint refers to how much white there is in a given color. A greater amount of tint results in a more pastel shade.

In other words, the darker a hue is, the more intense the black tones are. The deeper the shading, the more somber and ominous the color.

When discussing colors, “value” refers to how light or dark the hue is. Because they are closer to white, lighter colors have a higher value than darker ones. It is used to draw attention to particular elements in a design.

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Adding emphasis and motion to your work by using items with varying tonal values. Contrast, which is also used frequently in photography, is created by the items’ varying levels of brightness in your design.

Color schemes based on CMYK or RGB are available for your design. Consider the context of your artwork before settling on a medium.

If your work will be reproduced digitally, it is recommended that you utilize the CMYK color space, which consists of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black and is the same color space used by printers.

When creating a digital design, the optimal color scheme is the one that consists of red, green, and blue (RGB). Once you’re satisfied with your design, you can upload it to the web with the assurance that the colors won’t shift.


An object’s visual texture describes its overall look and feel and can provide you clues as to its composition. Like shape, texture is ubiquitous in the physical world, and it can be experienced through sight and touch. Your line, shape, or form can become smooth, rough as a stone, fluffy, etc.

Although we can’t physically touch a digital design, we can nonetheless get a sense of its texture through our eyes. It can give your design’s elements a 3D effect and a sense of depth, making them appear more realistic and valuable.

Carefully consider the textures you choose in your graphic design. Picking a texture that isn’t appropriate for your design will have no effect.

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If, for example, you were designing a flower shop, you couldn’t use a darker color scheme or wooden accents. Soft, vibrant colors are more important.

The use of contrasting textures in a single design may also be a bad choice. Overwhelming the viewer’s senses and leaving them unsure of what to focus on first is an inevitable result.


The words and text you include in your design are crucial to its success, but the style in which they are presented is just as important. Because of this, typography is among the most crucial aspects of both graphic and web design. It’s what gets your point across and sets the tone.

Whether you’re making an announcement for a serious cause or a sweet and lighthearted event, you can determine the tone of your design with just your font.

Serif typefaces, for instance, are more formal, whereas script types are more informal and imaginative. Consequently, including them into your design with easily understood themes can yield better results.

Designing with typography in mind allows you to visually direct the viewer’s attention to where it should first go and where it should go next. Size, color, height, and weight are just some of the options available to you when designing your text.


What web and graphic designers leave out can be just as telling as what they do include. Space, in its simplest definition, is the unoccupied region around a shape. It aids in drawing attention to a design’s focal point while also making it more readable and aesthetically pleasing.

White space helps design elements breathe and improves visual hierarchy (the way the viewer’s eyes move throughout the design).

The term “negative space” is used to describe the region outside of the design elements that is used to create a visually appealing shape. The absence of elements serves to emphasize and define those that are there.

The composition is finished and enhanced by the effective use of negative and positive space.

Space ensures that everything on your design is exactly where it should be, which is very helpful when less is more or less is everything. It draws attention to what matters most, making it simpler for the user to understand the point of your digital design.

What’s the Difference Between Design Elements and Design Principles?

The term “design components” is used to describe the fundamental parts of every piece of art. By “design principles,” we mean things like how you should use components like symmetry and asymmetry, repetition and variety, focalization and proportion. The design principles are a collection of fundamental guidelines and methods for putting together different components.


Let’s review what we’ve covered thus far:

One of the best ways to organize your page’s content and draw focus to specific areas is with a line.

The shapes you use in your logos, graphics, and other parts of your design are what give it its identity.
Color is a powerful tool for conveying the intended feeling of a design.

Typography conveys the mood of a website to the user and aids in the creation of a logical visual order.
You may give your design a sense of depth and character by employing texture.

Finally, the concept of positive and negative space is useful for making the most of blank spaces in a design.

Form, shape, line, color, texture, typography, and space rounded out the seven pillars of design. If you apply them effectively, these components can elevate your work to the next level. You’ll need to put in some time studying what are called “the principles of design” and putting those guidelines into practice.

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Plan your design, let your imagination go wild, and then, if required, break the rules elegantly and confidently in order to achieve harmony. Be mindful, nevertheless, that mastery of the norms is a prerequisite for rule-breaking.

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