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Elements of Design: A Beginner’s Guide

The Basic Elements of Design Any Business Should Know

Brand image is everything. Creating a recognizable, consistent appearance that emulates your business’s goals and mission will boost brand awareness and build customer retention. To do so, you’ll have to take a little dive into design. While you may not be opening Photoshop yourself, perhaps your working with a rebranding team. As a business owner, it’s best to get educated on the essential elements of design to provide insightful input to when creating your brand identity.

Let’s take a look at what the 7 elements of design are, and why your business may choose to employ one (or several) into its branding.

Form

Form is a three-dimensional shape, measured by height, width, and depth. Typically, these are geometric, or human-made, however, there is such a thing as natural, or organic, shapes. Color and texture are often used to enhance these shapes and bring them to life.

Form can refer to a shape within a design or be the shape of the design itself. For example, when digitally designing for a mobile device, the phone is your form.

Shape

Shape is a two-dimensional element, measured by height and width. Shapes live within a form. For example, a button (the shape) exists on a website’s page (the form). These elements are often used to define areas or set boundaries. Color, texture, and movement can complement these shapes as well.

While we know traditional geometric shapes, circles, squares, triangles, rectangles, etc., organic shapes are freely made. They’re natural and smooth, create a flow, and often represent freedom. It may not always be precise or use the same dimensions every time it’s drawn.

Line

A line is what starts any design. However, there’s more to it than simply dragging your medium across a page. There are length, thickness, breaks, direction, position, and angels to consider. Elements such as color, texture, and movement can also be incorporated into your line-work.

While lines are quite literally what makes a shape, they are used to contain, break, or divide areas as well.

Texture

Texture is a feeling you get from touching a surface: the soft pattern of a cheetah, a velvety smooth fabric, a coarse piece of sandpaper, the gooey appearance of honey. While these are easy to achieve in traditional mediums, digital presents its own challenges.

Digital designers must nail the appearance of texture, drawing in the eyes of onlookers, enough to feel the composition without the need to touch a tangible object.

Color

Color is the element most people get excited for—and, arguably, the hardest to get just right. It can be a striking indicator of your brand, a way for customers to identify you among the competition quickly. Creating a cohesive color palette, however, takes refined skill.

Hue, saturation, and lightness are properties that touched only ever so slightly, can drastically change the tone of a color. And we can’t forget that every color elicits emotions. For example: blues reflect trust, and purples embellish royalty; greens are colors of the earth, and pinks can provide a feminine touch. 

When designing, don’t forget about black and white! White space is incredibly useful to break up areas and disperse an overwhelmed design.

Space

Without space, a design will be left a cluttered, overwhelming mess. Space makes up the area above, below, next to, and behind an object. Shadows, shading, overlaps, and size all play into the shape element.

While space is subjective, it can be a powerful tool to add emphasis.

Movement

When the digital age arrived, so did movement into the elements of design. In static or traditional art, motion can only be implied. Digital opens up the possibility of adding animation to a design. Lines, shapes, forms, and textures can now all become living objects.

Movement has become especially popular among website designers—for both desktop and mobile. Whether it’s a sliding timeline, a sequence of events, a spinning loading object, or a sliding carousel of imagery, movement is meant to capture the user’s attention and keep them engaged.

[H1] HOW TO USE THE ELEMENTS OF DESIGN FOR YOUR BUSINESS

The elements of design do not become irrelevant after you’ve mastered your business’ brand. Website layouts, marketing materials, and your physical building are all influenced by these components. To explore how these design elements can benefit your business, get in touch with the specialists at Kraus Marketing. Our team of designers, brand experts, and strategists are ready to give your brand the retouch it needs.