Saturday, February 9, 2013

Part 2 - Design Principles

by Janet Alexander
Technical Advisor

Last month, I introduced the idea of principles of design and design elements. I can’t stress how important these concepts are to your creative work. We have all heard that when we meet someone for the first time, we form an opinion of them within a few seconds. The same goes with looking at a piece of art or jewelry. Our subconscious mind forms opinions very quickly and if you use design principles effectively, the first impression of your jewelry will be a positive one.

Observing the work of others and thinking about the use of design can be a powerful first step in your design education. In my last post, I ended with the picture above and asked you to think about the design elements present and how they were used.

Let’s look at line, shape, scale and color.

First off, what is the first thing your eyes see?  The large head. What is the next thing? The purple sleeve. Then your eye travels down to the hand, up to the ruler (to the top of the photo) and then back to the head. Subconsciously your eye quickly traveled around the whole picture settling back on the face.
This photo relies on:
  • Shape (the head arm, and ruler)
  • Scale (the head)
  • Line (the arm, pointing hand, and ruler) 
  • Color (complimentary colors from the color wheel, purple and yellow.)
I bet you didn’t know how much this photo was planned, did you! Notice how the eyes both point inward to the center of her face. The lines in the background also point down to her too. The more you look, the more you see how much care was taken create a compelling design.

Studying and mastering the use of design principles is a life-long process for artists of all media. I hope that this brief taste of design theory will inspire you to explore further and to think differently about your own work.


Anonymous said...

Hi Janet,

This is great getting these design tips. Coming from a medical background, I didn't get any design in school. Can you recommend a good book that would help a design novice like me?
Kathy Clausen

Janet Alexander said...

Thank you Kathy! Actually, the complete version of this tutorial is for sale on my website. It has 5 parts and leads you through designing from this photo graph to understanding color, about the secrete ratio technique, and the steps to designing jewelry that I use.