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Basic Creative Design Principles

By Charles Hopkins Published 04/23/2006 | Arts and Culture
Some people seem to have been born knowing creative design principles. Others, maybe you included, have to struggle to develop even the tiniest creative skills they do have. One thing is for certain, you can learn to be more creative. And you can discover the creative design ideas that other artists use for inspiration, even if you were not born with a single creative bone in your body.

There are several principles of design you must consider when you begin to learn the creative design process. These principles give an over riding basis on how your design elements will interact with one another, in your artwork and your designs. Each one influences the others in an endless tug-of-war within your mind and on your creative canvas. Your challenge is to learn to create harmony out of all these principles in your artwork, and to give your designs that unique blend that can only come from within you.

The creative design principles are...
Balance
Rhythm
Dominance
Unity

Now, let us look at each principle as it relates to your creativity and your designs.

Balance is the arrangement of different design elements, on any given piece of artwork, so that there is an equal distribution of visual weight to the whole piece. Art that doesn't have balance can leave the viewer uneasy, almost as if there is something wrong with the piece.

Rhythm has to do with repeating elements and patterns in your designs. It also involves variations on those patterns to provide freshness, and to keep your art from becoming boring. Repetition can help to unify a piece, or bring different parts of your artwork together. It can also provide the basic textures for your design work.

Dominance refers to emphasizing certain parts of your design so that they get noticed first. Every piece of artwork needs a focal point which determines where your eyesight goes first, when you look at it. If you do not have a focal point your viewer quickly loses interest. Having too many points of interest will also leave the viewer with no place to focus. There are many ways to emphasize parts of your design, but the most important point is to select your focus based on your main message and, secondly, in consideration of whom your audience will be.

Unity is the final aspect in design, which gives a feeling that all the elements belong together. Unifying a piece can involve using various elements, including matching colors, shapes, textures, groupings, weights, typographies, or sizes. Unity, in your art, is the overall feeling that brings your piece together, and gives it wholeness or variety, whichever you are trying to convey to the viewer.

When you consider each of these design principles, while creating your artwork, they will have an impact on everything you create and do in your piece. No matter where your creativity takes you, if you will try to incorporate balance, rhythm, dominance, and unity into your artwork, you will be building on the solid basics of creative design.