Talk:Visual design elements and principles

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Use more varied or general examples[edit]

The examples given in the text of this article all seem to relate to interior design. The principles of design expressed here also apply to graphic design, interface design, industrial design etc. It would be good to give multiple examples from different fields or speak generically. For example, the Proximity topic mentions "Proximity in home decor" refers specifically to the principle of proximity with furniture, using a weak example that doesn't translate easily to other fields. In this example, proximity is also used, for instance, in interaction design to imply a relationship. That cannot be inferred from the furniture example. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:27, 23 March 2009 (UTC)

I agree with the comment above. Thanks to the dedicated work of an interior designer, the article covers that discipline well. However the article now appears to suggest that interior design is the most important or fundamental design discipline, neglecting other - at least equally and perhaps even more fundamental - design disciplines. (talk) 10:53, 31 March 2009 (UTC)

What is the relationship between this entry and the gestalt theory? They seem to cover much of the same ground. and then this bibliography under perception. Rabourn (talk) 07:41, 18 May 2009 (UTC) (talk) 20:46, 4 April 2012 (UTC)OD-LA: even if I were signed in I cant affect the top section, the one above this section. I do believe there is a misspelling in this sentence: " The principles of design is what is bing done to the elements of design how they come together to create a design."

Do not merge[edit]

I disagree with the merging. I think the actual elements & principles should be left separate for those looking for just that. Possibly just merging those two pages renaming them Elements & Principles of Design instead of have them on 2 different pages may be a good idea, but not to merge it in with other stuff. 12th October 2007 —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:17, 12 October 2007 (UTC)

I also disagree. If someone just needs the elements and principles (as I did), they wouldn't want to have to look through a different article. When the title 'elements of design' comes up you know exactly what you're getting. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:13, 15 October 2007 (UTC)

responses to the merge tag[edit]


I don't think that Principles of Art, Elements of Art, or basic drawing topics should be merged into Design Principles. Even though Art and Design may have overlapping principles and elements, I see them as separate topics. Art and design are related, but art isn’t always design and design is not always art. I can definitely see basic drawing topics being referred to from this section. But I think they would be more useful within their own context.whats the purpose of design elements. sh0wnpc 17:15, 01 October 2006

I agree, somewhat[edit]

I agree that these topics should not be merged together.

I think that design (as in graphic design) is a subset of art, and that design (as in principles) make good art possible. However, design is discussed and used differently in graphic design than it is in the fine arts. Therefore, they should be separate topics.

I oppose the merge[edit]

The basic topic lists are a contents system (see Wikipedia:Contents) and not merely lists or articles. They're for navigation and to present the basics. There's going to be some redundancy with other articles, but to leave any major subject out will create a hole in the set's topic coverage. I also agree with the arguments posed above.  The Transhumanist   14:40, 17 November 2006 (UTC)

No Merge[edit]

The elements of art should not be merged because they are separate components that exist in an artwork or design. With that being said, they are not techniques as described in the definition. For example a texture (an art element) may have a particular characteristic, such as rough or smooth, but it is not a process or technique. It can not on it's own create something new. A better word to replace "technique" would be part, component, unit or feature.

Technique can be an execution of an artwork or skillful way of achieving something.Drossbach 16:35, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

Original Research versus Reliable Sources[edit]

The Design elements and principles article is trending away from a neutral point of view and verifiable content. I suggest contributors should locate reliable sources such as other Wikipedia articles, web sites or publications. Include these sources within the text.

For example, when the article talks about color, a reliable source might be the Color theory article (not to be confused with the band, Color Theory).

I mentioned the Wikipedia's neutral point of view and verifiable content, but Wikipedia explains these guidelines better than I can...

--Mtd2006 (talk) 05:18, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

Godawful opening paragraph[edit]

The current opening paragraph is a disaster:

"Design elements and principles are the basic visual toolbox of design tactics in every visual design discipline. The elements form the basic vocabulary of visual design, while the principles constitute the broader structural aspects of the composition.

These concepts and elements drive all intentional design strategies."

Firstly, it needs to be plain English. Vapid jargon like "visual toolbox" and "design tactics" need to be replaced with things that the average reader might have a chance of actually understanding. Cf. also WP:NOT. The opening paragraph (as opposed to the body of the article) should answer the question "What are design elements and principles?" without trying too explain why they're needed. So, I propose the following:

"Design elements and principles describe fundamental ideas about the practice of good visual design. They are assumed to be the basis of all intentional visual design strategies. The elements form the 'vocabulary' of the design, while the principles constitute the broader structural aspects of its composition."

--gilgongo (talk) 11:53, 28 March 2009 (UTC)

I've now applied the changes as nobody has objected. --gilgongo (talk) 22:16, 13 April 2009 (UTC)

Godawful everything[edit]

The entire article is a train wreck. It reads like it was written by a first year art school student. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:25, 18 January 2010 (UTC)

"Some wood photographs on particle board are not even water resistant." This is utter drivel, ill start drafting something from a general perspective (talk) 00:44, 7 February 2010 (UTC)

Agreed, when I first came across this article (to help me out a bit with art class), I had no clue where to start in fixing it. It seems to me that the information in the article was copied from another source, almost like a how-to guide in some areas. I've started to wikify / wikilink and cleanup a bit, but it will take time, not to mention that we need reliable sources. TheTwoRoads (talk) 04:15, 7 March 2010 (UTC)

To-do list[edit]

I just came across this article a few days ago trying to look up some info for art class. I agree that it does need quite a bit of work to get it up to par. Here's a short list of some of the things that I think could dramatically improve the article, some of them of more importance than others...

  • Add inline citations. There are references and external links in the article, however it would be of benefit to include them throughout the entire article. See
  • Consider changing the title of the article to "Elements and principles of design" versus "Design elements and principles" as per WP:TITLE.
  • Remove the information that sounds like a "how-to" article. It almost seems like most of the info that refers to interior design was copied from a how-to instructional book / website. We should consider making the information as neutral and general as possible, so that it was refer any art form.
  • Keep it simple. As it stands, some sections of the article are far too long for comfortable reading. Besides, if the reader wants more information on an specific point, they can take a look at related articles that are linked to this one. Which brings me to my last thought...
  • Add wikilinks. No article will be complete and useful without them.

That's all that I can really think of right now. Any thoughts? In the meantime, I'll be working on the above points =) TheTwoRoads (talk) 01:33, 8 March 2010 (UTC)

As it stands now, the bulk of this article relates to visual design. I suggest removing the items related to interior design and explicitly keeping limits on the scope, by moving to a title such as "Elements and principles of visual design". Working that much into shape will be a big enough job. As I find time, I'll try to help. __ Just plain Bill (talk) 03:28, 26 March 2010 (UTC)

I would like to suggest a strategy or goal for this article: that it should treat the subject as a status of ideas that have evolved over time. Each element should have a link to a historical source showing how the principle or element started, as well as links to authoritative literature explaining the principle or element as it is understood today. This is a transformation that can be done element by element. Michael Barkowski (talk) 16:48, 25 January 2011 (UTC)

I also suggest that if we really want inline citations, the article should be started again from scratch. It is not feasible to figure out which parts of the existing content come from which of the four references. Michael Barkowski (talk) 17:14, 25 January 2011 (UTC)

What is the purpose of this article?[edit]

I believe the topmost item on any sensible to-do list ought to be:

  • Determine the meaning of the word "design" in the title. (Who is the intended audience?)
    • Move the article to a title such as Elements and principles of ZYXW design to make that clear.
    • Recast the content to focus on the chosen scope.

Does this article cover graphic design, interior design, industrial design, product design, fashion design, some combination, or what? Recent edits seem to show some interest in keeping interior design in the mix. I think if the article tries to cover database design as well, just to choose a particularly unfitting example, the result will be messy, probably ugly, and certainly not very useful. Need some comments here... __ Just plain Bill (talk) 22:39, 29 March 2010 (UTC)

This is where I'm utterly confused at points. To me it feels like the first half of the article could apply to all visual art, which should probably be mentioned in the opening paragraphs after the split. The second half is obviously referring to interior design. I was thinking that the first article could be titled as "Elements and Principles of Visual Design", as the article pertains to all visual design fields, not just graphic design as you had mentioned. Saying that, the info within the article should be as general as possible.
The second half could be moved to "Elements and Principles of Interior Design" and have wikilinks to the Interior Design main article, or even merged later if need arises. This one is obviously more specific than the previous. A (very bold) thought has been lingering in my mind that perhaps we could even scrap the idea of creating a seperate article and incororate it into the Interior design article. TheTwoRoads (talk) 00:50, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
That might be the best way to go here: keep the visual material, moving it to Elements and principles of visual design, and merging the interior design related parts to Interior design. Sorry for the late reply; not much time available to do more than observe for now. __ Just plain Bill (talk) 18:06, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

Cleanup needed[edit]

This article has too much unsourced content. The "Design methods" subheading under "Principles of design" looks like a series of how-to bullet points, all in one wall of text. The edit history looks like a single anon IP is adding these points one by one as they spring to mind, without citing a reliable source. __ Just plain Bill (talk) 03:26, 6 April 2010 (UTC)

A few weeks ago I went through the entire article and removed as much redundant material as I could. I do agree that it could use more pruning that just that. I'll also try to find some good sources to add to the article when I make the time for it. As regards to the IP, he / she has been warned several times about the edits made to this, and other articles. TheTwoRoads (talk) 21:49, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
I'm thinking about slamming this article with something drastic soon, to see if there is anyone who cares about it enough to kick up a fuss. I appreciate the work you have done, and thanks for keeping me from feeling like I'm talking to myself here. I didn't want to accuse anyone of not discussing changes without providing a handy spot for some of that discussion.
I think the article may be salvageable, possibly with re-titling to an appropriately narrower scope. Would you (or anyone watching this) object to moving it to "Elements and principles of interior design" or "Elements and principles of graphic design" with further pruning to fit the new title? __ Just plain Bill (talk) 22:15, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
I think moving and pruning to be specific about graphic design is a good idea. Plain 'design' is too broad. I think 'visual design' is a good term, but there is no article for that yet. Plus, it will be misinterpreted here as anything you can see is visual design. Clubmarx (talk) 23:31, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

Unity is a principle, not an element. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:45, 6 July 2010 (UTC)


I understand if Wiki isn't big on mixing in visual content, but I needed to point out the irony of trying to teach the principles of *visual design* without visuals. It seriously cripples the entire purpose. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:54, 22 July 2010 (UTC)

Primarily I would suggest the addition of certain basic design principles such as:

1.Design for functionality - a thing designed must work to perform the function for which it is designed for 2.Design for fool proofing - it should also take care of users so that they do not make mistakes in using it. Such as Poka Yoke concept for design. 3. Design for safety - This is an important task that any design must take care of the safety of its users. 4. Design for proper aesthetics - More on visual appeal —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:49, 12 November 2010 (UTC)

Better, but still needs work[edit]

Happy to say this article looks a lot better than it did the last time I had a look. I just reduced the {{Multiple issues}} tag to a {{refimprove}}, and deleted the following truly awful section:

Design methods
Despite the design rules and guidelines, the designer still has to make an attractive design, and perhaps using some of these methods. Design by experimentation: experimenting with different shapes, materials, sizes of shapes to optimize functionality and aesthetics of design. Design by modification: modifying an existing design to improve the aesthetics and functionality of a design. Design by chance: for example scribbling some lines and curves randomly with a pencil on a piece of paper then choose a shape outline seen in it that may be used as a wood table top. Design by sketching: sketches and drawings can be easily modified. Design using a mood board: photographs of lamps and couches, paint swatches, wood samples, textile samples, and room sketches can be placed on the mood board to help visualize a room design. Design in the mind: visualize pleasing designs of rooms and houses in the mind. Design with "direct" method: direct is abbreviation for describe, investigate, record, evaluate, construct, and try. This involves describing design requirements, investigating design requirements and feasibility, recording design progress and plans, evaluating the design to see if design requirements were met, constructing the design, and then trying or testing the home design and problem solving. Making a new great design is not automatic, it is created and then it might become a trend or fad for a few years. This is the dream of a designer/engineer: to create a fad and get paid for it. Trade secrets: to design and engineer well like no one else can; trying to make a top of the line in class product. Contemporary home updates and upgrades, and contemporary home lifestyle development may be the best; if not so there would be no point in designing. You can help in home maintenance, updates and upgrades. What is home updating? Is usually using not so much past designs, add a new design like sconces, tidying (making it look like new), perhaps add more decor. What is upgrading or home improvement? Upgrading includes replacing past materials with better quality and more expensive finishing materials like granite countertops and real wood, getting better quality components like real wood furniture and embroided thick drapes, replacing phoney gold in chandelier with real gold plating.

To me that seems beyond salvaging, but someone might be able to make something out of it. __ Just plain Bill (talk) 02:48, 19 December 2010 (UTC)

Looking for feedback, more additions to come[edit]

I have "adopted" this page as my project for my English 103 class at Clemson University. I am majoring in graphic communications and minoring in packaging science so I have been taught these principles many of times in many different ways. In the next week or two I will be adding a bunch of information and images to the page and I want to encourage everyone to give me as much feedback and resources possible because I do not always use the best grammar. I also agree that all of these concepts are visual and I am working to provide examples for each but finding or making this many designs (with the rights) that incorporate each principle may be tough. Any designers or artist that have a piece they feel represents an element well should submit it to avoid me being forced to fill them with amateur sketches. Hope to hear from y'all, go tigers!

Additionally, I am new to Wikipedia editing so formatting changes may need to be made. Andybolin (talk) 05:19, 30 March 2012 (UTC)

Kindly remember that Wikipedia likes reliable sources, so be sure to include footnotes. I suspect you already knew that, but on artistic topics it is all too easy to wax loquacious. Tight, easy-to-read prose, supported by sources, is better for an encyclopedia. You may find some useful images at the commons. __ Just plain Bill (talk) 14:00, 30 March 2012 (UTC)
The article is rapidly changing shape, which is mostly a good thing, in my estimation.
  • If I may, the second paragraph in the lead section seems wordy and essay-like. If I were feeling merciless, I'd chop everything but most of the second-to-last sentence:
Principles of design can also be referred to as 'visual grammar rules.'
  • Did William Strunk write a foreword (or forewarning) to Lidwell and Holden's book? That bit could use some wordsmithing to clarify it, something along the lines of:
In Strunk's famous roughly stated admonition in the "forewarning" (foreword) to Universal Principles of Design...
Since I'm not sure where "roughly stated" belongs there, I will not make the change myself. As I notice other things, I'll chip in from time to time. Not sure how an academic project is meant to work with the Wikipedia principle that there is no deadline. __ Just plain Bill (talk) 00:28, 5 April 2012 (UTC)

Thank you for you time.

  • I agree completely with the second paragraph being 'essay like' and plan to cut it.
  • Here's the deal on the quote; it is at the end of the preface of "Universal Principles of Design" but that author already paraphrased Strunks words.
    • If you know a better way to state this please feel free to edit it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Andybolin (talkcontribs) 01:06, 12 April 2012 (UTC)

As for the deadline it has already passed but I intend to keep up with the page as my knowledge of the Principles of Design expand. Hopefully one day putting pieces of my my own work as examples.

I've just hacked the intro down to something more reasonable and made some smaller alterations elsewhere. Needs a lot more work. Snori (talk) 00:56, 10 August 2012 (UTC)