Elements of Design

a couch with pillows of varying sizes

Space: A design element consisting of a continuous expanse of distance extending in all directions. In buildings, space is constrained by the floors, walls, and ceilings.

Form: The three-dimensional shape of an object that exhibits volume and mass.

Texture: Apparent surface quality as perceived through tactile or visual senses.

Light: Light and color are two of the most powerful elements of design. They can alter the perception and use of space since they can be manipulated for effect. Light can be natural or artificial.

Color: For design purposes, color has three basic properties-hue, value, and chroma.

  • Hue is the name given to each color to distinguish it from the other colors.
  • Value designates the darkness or lightness of the color.
  • Chroma is the purity, saturation, or amount of pigment a color exhibits. For example, adding black or white to a color can lower its intensity, or vividness.

Line: A design element that connects two points-it can also depict the outline of a form or shape.

Time: There is a close relationship between time and space. Moving through space at various time intervals produces varying impressions of the space.