Principles of Design

The principle of design EMPHASIS provides the focal point for the piece. It is a way of making the element that is most important stand out in the design. Emphasis is sometimes called dominance.

Dominance plays a central role in successful design, resolving conflicts between design elements and principles and restoring unity to your design. Achieve dominance through a variety of means, including rhythm, repetition, size, intensity or movement.

Your dominant elements are your star players, communicating your idea to the viewer with clarity. decide which elements will govern. As you organize your composition, consider the potential for each element in supporting your concept.

Plan how to implement design principles to further your aim. Some tactics will be more effective for your purpose than others: these should dominate.

Always remember that not all elements and principles of design are necessary in every composition, but among those that are included, one must dominate.

Every piece of jewelry you create has a feature that draws the eye to it. Sometimes it is a single bead that stands out by virtue of its size, color, or pattern. Other times an element has been repeated and thus draws attention. Or a particular feature because of its placement in the piece commands the eye to focus on it. Utilizing the design strategy of emphasis allows you to communicate the message of your piece to the viewer.

As a composition develops an artist may decide to stress certain elements of the design emphasis over others to create a focal point. The eye of the viewer will focus on the area of emphasis or center of interest first, then take in the rest of the composition. A design lacking emphasis will be monotonous and uninspired.

One of the biggest mistakes designers can make is trying to make everything in the design stand out. When everything has equal emphasis at best it can make the piece appear busy, and at worst the design will be boring and unappealing.

For a closer view of any of the following designs just click on the designer's name and you will be taken to their site where you can also check out some of their other creative designs for inspiration.

Gorgeous is what comes to mind when you see this "Fantasia Victoria Rose" choker by
Marilyn Peraza. The emphasis of course is on the sculptured rose medallion not only because of the dominance of size but also the contrast of the dark muted ruby color against the Dainty Rose beads and soft accent colors cascading down around this focal feature. The crochet tube adds elegance and perfectly balances out the piece.

"Butterflies" by Natasha Jade
Your eyes are immediately drawn to the large filigree butterfly near the center. The dainty strands of seed beads running through and around the larger beads add movement to this piece as your eyes flutter gracefully around the whole necklace taking in all the shapes and sizes of the variety of beads used.

These two bracelets by Vonna Maslanka shows how she uses a dominate shape (circles in bracelet on the left and rectangles in the one on the right) and then adds visual interest and contrast with a variety of shapes, dangles and partial strands of complimenting beads giving her designs added dimension and movement.

"Angel-of-Spring-Lampwork-Necklace" by Sliver Mist Studios.
A vision of beauty as you wear this necklace. The pendant was made by Pat Hoyt with Moretti glass. She stands 2" tall and is wearing a lavender dress with a hint of dichroic in it. The necklace double strands are done in Sterling Silver, Bali Sterling Silver, Natural Tourmaline, Swarovski® Austrian Crystal. Then finished with an ornate bali sterling silver rectangle shaped toggle.

"Spring Sweetheart" bracelet by Rose Puskas uses a heart lampwork bead as her focal piece. It is not only dominant in size but also the light ivory background contrasts against the soft colors in the rest of the beads drawing your eyes to this focal bead first then investigating the rest of the design. This is a wonderful example of how the color accent beads harmonizes with the rose motif on the lampwork beads; the colors are delicate and harmonious. Using the different shaped accent beads in various sizes adds variety and contrast giving this bracelet interest and vitality. The heart shaped toggle completes the theme.

This amethyst pearl butterfly necklace titled "Butterfly Dreams" is a wonderful example of design emphasis building a necklace around a focal piece. The subtle use of peridot, amethyst, black and light amber crystals along with freshwater pearls compliment the large butterfly center. The bead dangles hanging down from the butterfly add length and interest to this beautiful necklace.

Related Articles:

For more Principles of Design see: Balance, Rhythm, Movement, Contrast, Harmony, Variety.

For more Elements of Design see: Line, Shape, Space, Texture, Color.

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