Basic Design Elements

Design elements are the basic ingredients every design project must have. When combined in a specific way, these elements allow your design to have that unique feel and stand out from all other designs.

The key distinction between design principles and design elements is that principles are rules you have to follow and elements are things that will help or aid you accomplish those rules for the best task result.

Some design elements we are going to look at today are color, value, texture, shape, form, space, and line.

Design Elements

Colour has three properties. The first is hue, which is the name of the colours. The primary hues are yellow, red, and blue. Secondary colors are made by mixing two primaries. Intermediate colors are mixtures of a primary and adjacent secondary color.

The second property of color is value, which refers to the lightness or darkness of hue. The third property of color, which is intensity, refers to the purity of the hue also called chroma. Colour is an easy one.

Just make sure your design’s colour is right for the mood! Also make sure that each section’s colour matches another section’s colour. Colour is probably the biggest element to pay attention to.


Value as an element of design is the relative darkness or lightness of a color. Ensure that the colours you put on your design are dark or light enough for the proper mood. If you want to show a sad figure or sad event in your design, most people would give the design a much darker value. On the other hand, to show happy children playing around  my recommendation would be to use lighter colours such as yellow or pink.

Design elements - value

Texture, as an element of design, helps your design be unique or have identifying character and characteristics. With the proper texture, your design will look more fascinating than the average design.

texture MAIN

A Shape is a form distinguished from its surroundings by its outline within your design. You can make your whole work a certain shape besides the common square, and then have shapes within the design shape. This makes the design more complex. A shape can also be defined as a form.

shape MAIN

Form is similar or likened to the idea of shape. Form is the structure of your design and how everything in the design looks like it is meant to go together. If the form is well planned or organized and then carried out, it almost guarantees your design in black and white will be a success.


Space has to be included in your design. Space means leaving some blank areas. Actual space is three-dimensional volume that can be empty or filled with objects. It has width, height, and depth. Space that appears three-dimensional in a two-dimensional design is an illusion that creates a feeling of actual depth. Various techniques can be used to show such visual depth or space. Sometimes a human eye needs space to feel comfortable, and space will let the eye distinguish the part that is meant to be noticed compared to just the background. Sometimes not including space in your design is okay, but make sure it doesn’t make it look untidy.

space MAIN

Line defines the position and direction of the design. Also a line is a form with width and length, but no depth. A Designer uses lines to create edges, the outlines of objects. Make sure your design identifies some sort of line so that the human eye can recognize which side is the top of the design or on which side the design is suppose to start with interest. The direction of a line can convey mood. Horizontal lines are calm and quiet, vertical lines suggest more of a potential for movement, while diagonal lines strongly suggest movement and give more of a feeling of vitality to a picture.

Line Squares

Thank you for reading!

If you missed my article on ‘Design Principles’, here is the link:



‘Basic Design Elements’ written by Gilbert Godwyll for the THRIVE blog on