Why Is Composition and Design
So Important
When Creating Jewelry?

Having some knowledge about composition and design will give you a better understanding of why people are either attracted or not attracted to a piece of jewelry.

Of course, design is a very subjective terrain; everyone has different opinions on what they find appealing. In order to gain a full appreciation for your own design preferences, you can practice the simple exercise of studying other people’s jewellery and asking yourself questions such as the following:

    *What is my initial response to this piece: Do I love it, hate it or think it’s just so-so?

    *What is it that I like or dislike about it?

    *What makes it interesting?

    *Does it make you want to have a closer look at it? (how it is made, what materials were used)

    *What emotions does it evoke?

    *Does it remind me of anything, and if so, what was it that triggered that memory? (For example, light pink and green colors may remind you of the first buds of spring; big rectangular beads may be reminiscent of your favorite cityscape)

    *What are the components of the piece that generate the greatest visual impact? (For example, was it the way the black and white beads contrasted so sharply? Was it the way the shell and wood beads combined with the hemp string suggested a beachy, naturalistic look? Was it the way the two little beads on either side of the big bead created a balanced effect?)

    *What words would you use to describe the piece? (fun, simple, eclectic, powerful, elegant, soft, earthy, glamorous, retro, chic, boring, intricate, etc)

What is Design?

Design is a form of creative planning that allows you to best communicate your ideas. By employing a design framework to your project, you will have a definite direction on which you can base your creative choices. This allows you to “control the chaos” and make jewelry that is intelligently composed. Becoming familiar with the tenets of design gives you the opportunity to create multifaceted and meaningful pieces that are truly artistic.

Knowing the foundational components of design will provide for you a guideline, aiding you in your artistic endeavors. Design is a great tool for organizing and making sense of various colors, shapes and textures in order to create a piece of jewelry that is not only aesthetically pleasing but also evokes an emotional response.

So you’ve got the materials and you’ve got the technical skill but those can only get you so far. In order to turn what you already have into art, you must become familiar with the principles and elements of design.

Elements of Design

The elements of design are the building blocks of design. These elements are what make up every piece of jewelry you create.

By understanding and using the elements of basic composition, you'll be able to design more powerful jewelry pieces. With this knowledge you can purposefully alter your original inspiration, or starting point, into a totally new creation. You may choose to emphasize one element over another.

The visual elements (the vocabulary with which the visual artist composes) are:

  • Line - the visual path that enables the eye to move within the piece

  • Shape - areas defined by edges within the piece, whether geometric or organic

  • Space - the area between and around objects>

  • Texture - surface qualities which translate into tactile illusions

  • Color - hues with their various values and intensities

  • Value - the lightness and darkness throughout the piece, characterized by tint, tone, and shade

Principles of Design

The principles of design are used to organize individual elements into a workable, aesthetic design concept.

These principles suggest effective, pleasing and interesting ways to arrange beads and components in a piece.

Although not all elements and principles of design are necessary in every composition, how you apply the various principles of design determines how effective your design is in conveying the desired message and how attractive it appears.

The principles of design include:

  • Balance - the distribution of elements across the design

  • Emphasis - the focal point for the piece

  • Rhythm - the way your eye moves throughout a piece

  • Movement - how the components relate and lead the viewer's attention

  • Contrast - how the components relate and lead the viewer's attention

  • Harmony - pleasing arrangement of parts

  • Variety - differences which give a design visual and conceptual interest

  • Unity -the quality of completeness a composition has

Once you determine your personal design preferences you can begin to make use of the principles and elements of design to creatively express your ideas in your own distinct style. With practice, you will be able to easily evaluate pieces to determine whether or not they work and why, as well as implementing these strategies in your own work.

Remember that design is subject to taste and no one formula will guarantee a great look & feel. If there were one formula, all jewelry would look the same and design would not be a concern.

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