“Symmetry, as wide or as narrow as you may define its meaning, is one idea by which man through the ages has tried to comprehend and create order, beauty, and perfection.” — Hermann Weyl
After Basic Surfaces Enrichments, the sixth tutorial of the Graphic Design Basic Element Series covers Basic Picture Arranging Principles.
The above quote by E. M. Forster, a brilliant German American mathematician who gave lectures in the early 1900s on “Space, Time, Matter” revealed his deep appreciation for philosophy and how the topic relates to his findings on relativity.
Leave it to the complexity of a physicist to describe how a simple relationship of objects in art and their placement lends to its visual appeal while convincing the viewer of its relation to position, direction, and size.
As a graphic design arranging principle we describe the term position in art as both a verb and a noun.
To position as a verb infers the action of placing an object in relation to another object within the scope of the image.
As a noun, the viewer takes in the entire scope of the picture and determines its relationship within that space.
Previously we covered direction in relation to making a mark, such as the direction of a line.
When describing arranging principles it is the point along which something lies that describes this relationship.
Some examples are:
The block of illustrations provide an example of each of the six basic picture arranging principles.
Direction can become more complex as we’ll learn in the next tutorial that covers Five Basic Relationships.
In design, size describes the quality of a thing which determines how much space it occupies.
The action of sizing an object can also make a statement.
Sizing helps in determining if an object becomes the focal point or a supporting element. The two illustration examples of the mouse and cheese make this point by altering the size proportions.
In one the mouse is the focal point. In the other illustration, cheese becomes the main subject.
Art Play: Rearranging Objects
An artist can place an element to build interest and move the eye into the artwork. This can entice the viewer to relate more deeply to a dominant object and allow other illustrated elements to be supportive of the theme.
Take some time in your art journal and play with an object that would normally be sized relative to other objects in its natural environment.
See how much fun you can have changing its position, size, and direction. You might place it in the foreground and make it small, or in the background and change its color. Notice how the eye relates to the object as you make these changes.
Downloadable Tutorial Guide
Please feel free to download the image guide for Basic Surface Enrichments.
Our next tutorial will describe the Five Basic Relationships found in design and a downloadable tutorial image.
To follow along, click > Art & Design Tutorial Table of Contents
Luise Volta says
I am getting a lot out of these posts. Thank you so much!
Sandy Breckenridge says
Thank you so much Luise. You have been such a wonderful support.