The Elements of Design

The elements of design are the building blocks of design. These elements are what make up every page you build. And understanding the basic elements you'll be able to put together more powerful Web pages.

There are five basic elements of every design:

Lines and Linework

Lines include borders and rules. They can be horizontal or vertical and help delineate the spaces around elements on Web pages. Linework increases the readability of the design.


Shapes make up any enclosed contour in the design. Shapes on most Web pages are square or rectangular. But they don't have to be. You can use images to generate other shapes within your designs.


Texture gives a design a feeling of surface. Texture on Web pages is all visual, but you can use natural textures or artificial to get the effect in your designs.


Color is the one design element that most Web designers are acutely aware of. But remember that color is not a required element of any design. In fact, a good plan in design is to create the design without color first, then add as little color as you can to enhance the design.


Direction gives your Web designs motion. In most designs there is a sense of movement in a direction across the design. Good designs lead the eye through the design in a deliberate fashion so that the viewer sees what the designer wants.

The Building Blocks of Design

By Jennifer Kyrnin,