Designs are objective representations of some aspect of reality. A design can be a blueprint or description of some aspect of reality or it can be a set of definite blueprints for constructing an object or a process, or its resultant product, or its output. The word design itself can mean the same thing as architectural design, structural design, interior or landscape design, etc. The term to design in English therefore refers to the systematic arrangement of matter so that it produces a particular end result.


A design is actually a description or a blueprint of some aspect of reality, say the production of a certain automobile, or a book cover or the like. The term to design therefore indicates the process by which a designer transforms the given information into a physical shape. We use many terms, such as blueprint, design, model, and so on, but in the context of artwork and design it should be remembered that these three terms are not mere synonyms, but mean very different things. While a blueprint is a clear and definitive illustration of a design, the word itself may imply a much more complex range of references, including the range of possible designs.

A designer must take into account the composition of the work and the resulting appearance. The composition is the entire arrangement of the elements in space, including color, texture, proportion, unity, scale, and other design constraints. The visual effect is the product of all these arrangements in relation to each other. The aesthetic principle, as it is commonly understood, emphasizes the effect of the overall impression and not the detail or proportion of any particular element. Thus, if an element is excessively obvious, the aesthetic effect will be less powerful than if an element with equal visual appeal, but with a different degree of importance, is placed in the composition.

A designer who wishes to create appealing designs must therefore pay special attention to the effects of contrast. Contrast in compositions occurs when two or more similar elements are placed in similar positions, yet are placed in different places. An example of such a combination is a set of contrasting images. In works where the subject matter is man and woman, the women usually have a slightly larger size than the man, and the background, the man’s hand, is often of greater contrast than the woman’s.

As a student of art, you need to pay special attention to the ways in which elements in a composition are differentiated. When you sketch your ideas, don’t just blur the lines between the sketches you have in your head. Try drawing the sketches so that you can see the differences in level of detail and emphasis of the various elements that you intend to use. Sketching also gives you the opportunity to see if your ideas really do have any logical sense. For instance, if you intend to make a poster with only a few pictures, you won’t need a great deal of words to make your point. On the other hand, if you want to present a large number of pictures in an attempt to persuade the viewer that there is an important, topical meaning, you will need to employ words, phrases, and maybe even images to support your point.

Finally, it’s also essential that you pay attention to the basic types of elements. There are four basic types, each relating to the visual aspect of your work. For example, if you intend to present complex objects as text, then you should draw the object as the main focal point, and all of its secondary details (such as the background) should be placed around it. Secondary elements are those that are revealed by the primary ones, such as the smudge on the stove paint or the spilled milk on the window. Achieving a balance of the four elements, in relation to the main subject or theme, is important for good design.