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ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN THEORY

SEMESTER I LECTURE 3

Elements of Visual Design

ADT 2009

Prof Anil Kumar, GCAD

An object is perceived by the viewers by their five sense organs eyes, ears (music), tongue (food), nose (perfume) and skin (surfaces). All man made objects are designed. Our concern will, however, be primarily related to visual perception as that is how we perceive architecture.

ADT 2009

Prof Anil Kumar, GCAD

The Elements and Principles of design are the building blocks used to create a work of art.
The Elements of design can be thought of as the things that make up a painting, drawing, design etc. Good or bad - all designs will contain most of if not all, the elements of design.
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An element is one of those most basic visible things. In science, the elements are on the periodic chart (hydrogen, iron, oxygen, gold, sulfur, etc.). All the complex chemicals are simply combinations of these (H2O).

ADT 2009

Prof Anil Kumar, GCAD

An artistic product is created by a combination of visual elements. All that is visible is made up of visual elements. An element will be a single entity and can not be called an element if combined with anything else. In reality rarely if ever would an element exist in isolation. It will be present as a part of a combination of elements.
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Elements of Design
Visual composition starts with the basic elements: dot, line, shape, color and texture and subsequently the extended aspects of direction, movement, dimension and scale.

ADT 2009

Prof Anil Kumar, GCAD

Dots
The Dot is the simplest irreducible minimum unit of visual communication. Any point has strong visual power to attract the eye wherever it exists naturally or is placed by artists in response to a purpose. Dots connect, and therefore are capable of leading the eye. In great profusion and juxtaposed, dots create the illusion of tone or color.
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A pointillist impressionist painting by Seurat a French painter.

Artists have taken the advantage of the qualities of dots to create beautiful paintings as these in a large number create tones.

ADT 2009

Prof Anil Kumar, GCAD

Lines
Lines - When dots are so close to one another that they cannot be individually recognized the sensation of direction is increased and the chain of dots become a distinctive Line. Paul Klee, the Swiss Expressionist painter, described a line as a dot out for walk. A line is the history of a dot's movement, since, when we make a continuous mark or a line, we make it by placing a marker point on a surface and moving it.
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Line can also be seen as a mark on a surface that describes a shape or outline. It can create texture and can be thick and thin. Types of line can include actual, implied, vertical, horizontal, diagonal and contour lines. A line can also be seen as a form that has length and width but no depth. Lines are used to create edges and outlines of objects but by themselves can also be suggestive of visual expression. A line is created by the movement of a pen, pencil or brush.
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Line can be considered in two ways. The linear marks made with a pen or brush or the edge created when two shapes meet.
Line - is a mark on a surface that describes a shape or outline. It can create texture and can be thick and thin. Types of line can include actual, implied, vertical, horizontal, diagonal and contour lines. ADT 2009 Prof Anil Kumar, GCAD

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Lines are basic to all of the visual arts. Drawing is more or less based on using lines. The odd thing about lines is that they do not occur in nature. Line in art is an artificial device that we have learned to interpret as representing something. You have learned to read drawings with lines since childhood. The usual meaning of a line is that it represents an edge.
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Line defines the position and direction of the design. If you have lines or shapes that seem to be running horizontally, then the design would seem like it's running in a left and right line. 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.
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Tips on using lines: Decide which part of your display is the most important, and direct attention to it by judicious use of line. Do not scatter lines about at random. Remember that margins are an invisible line. Attention to line does not mean that all elements in the design have to be lined up.
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Line can be used to define the edge of space as well as the edge of an object. The line that forms the rectangle to the right separates that shape from the rest of the page. The line through its center divides the rectangle in two.

Lines can be thick and thin, monochromatic or multicolored each having a different feel about it.
ADT 2009 Prof Anil Kumar, GCAD

Implied lines
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Unstable, restless, ambitious etc.

Stable and placid

Lines represent order and give the eye explicit directions about where to look and how to interpret what it sees.

Lines can be straight or curved. Lines can be thick and thin. Just straight lines can be expressive by their direction. Horizontal stability Vertical ambition Angular - direction Combination of lines can generate discernable or suggestive shapes.

Regressive

Progressive

Lines can make a statement by their direction


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How artists feel about lines

ADT 2009

Lines are tools for communication. When an artist uses lines to define the edges of an object or to describe its surface they are like someone telling a story. A good storyteller knows that it is not just the story, but the telling of it, that makes for success. The qualities of the lines in a drawing are like the timing, vocal inflections and emphasis that a storyteller uses. Line quality also adds interest by increasing the variety in an image. Line quality describes the appearance of a line -- its look not its direction. Different line qualities like thick, thin, light, dark, solid, broken, colored etc. all will change how the line is Prof Anil Kumar, GCAD 18 interpreted in a drawing.

Using a simple line to apply the principle of economy is to show only part of an image, giving enough information for viewers to complete it mentally.

ADT 2009

Prof Anil Kumar, GCAD

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Curving lines give unfilled areas a flowing, rhythmic quality. The sketch is designed to make us perceive optical effects that are not there. These drawings have the mystery of a figureground reversal: we cannot be sure whether the design is black or white on black.
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Curving lines give unfilled areas a flowing, rhythmic quality. This work by Bridget Riley's Current is designed to interact by making us perceive optical effects that are not there. Current has the mystery of a figureground reversal: we cannot be sure whether the design is black or white on black.

ADT 2009

Prof Anil Kumar, GCAD

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Straight lines at random

Light and dark lines

A combination of straight lines can convey different feelings.


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Prof Anil Kumar, GCAD

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Monochromatic parallel thick lines

Multi-chromatic parallel thick lines


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Straight lines can be modulated to create optical illusions


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A few lines can generate associative mental images. Here, however, the line by itself loses its intrinsic meaning, as the shape becomes more prominent.

ADT 2009

Prof Anil Kumar, GCAD

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By now you would have understood the strength and value of lines in design. Remember all your future work will be based on your appreciation of this element. Each line that you draw will have a meaning. So, do not waste or misuse this powerful element of visual design.
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The End
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