Principles of Design

In the principles of design HARMONY can be defined as a pleasing arrangement of parts, whether it be music, poetry, art, or even handcrafted jewelry. If harmony exists, there is a state of agreement between the parts of a design that gives it unity of effect and an aesthetically pleasing whole.

Harmony emphasizes similarities in relationships. Close values with gentle transitions provide relaxing visual experience. Colors next to each other on the color wheel work well together. Similarities of lines, shapes and sizes are harmonious. Many artists create tranquil, harmonious works that are pleasing to look at. But beware of too much togetherness leading to boredom. Introduce small differences to enhance visual appeal without discord.

Have Harmony Without Boredom

To liven up a harmonious piece, introduce subtle variations a slightly brighter color, a different line quality, a varied shape, an altered viewpoint, a contrast of texture, an unexpected object or a bit of whimsy.

Harmony can be defined as a pleasing arrangement of parts, whether it be music, poetry, art, or even handcrafted jewelry. If harmony exists, there is a state of agreement between the parts of a design that gives it unity of effect and an aesthetically pleasing whole.

In visual experiences, harmony is something that is pleasing to the eye. It engages the viewer and it creates an inner sense of order, a balance in the visual experience. When something is not harmonious, it's either boring or chaotic.

At one extreme is a visual experience that is so bland that the viewer is not engaged. The human brain will reject under-stimulating information. At the other extreme is a visual experience that is so overdone, so chaotic that the viewer can't stand to look at it. The human brain rejects what it can not organize, what it can not understand. The visual task requires that we present a logical structure. Color harmony delivers visual interest and a sense of order.

In summary, extreme unity leads to under-stimulation, extreme complexity leads to over-stimulation. Harmony is a dynamic equilibrium.

Harmony and Variety

Harmony and variety are closely related because both involve combining the elements of art (color, line, shape, texture, and value) to create interest and guide the eye through the composition. Both harmony and variety convey meaning through repetition, proximity, and simplicity. It is the degree to which each is used that create the contrast between the two.

Harmony is a way of combining elements of design to accent their similarities and bind the parts into a whole. Harmony is subtle. Variety gives a composition interest and vitality by abruptly changing an element. VARIETY, CONTRAST, and HARMONY work together to give UNITY.

Harmony Through Light Values and Delicate Colors

The following high-key jewelry pieces are a good example of harmony in design. The values are close and confined to the upper range of the value scale; the colors are delicate and harmonious. Adding extreme darks to any of these pieces would destroy their ambiance.

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.

"Peach/Eggplan Sculpted" Necklace,
design by Margaret Reed.

"Spring Time" Double Strand Bracelet, design by Marilyn Peraza.

"Mauve Angel" Necklace, design by Arlisa Bijoux .

"Cherry Blossom" Bracelet, design by Jo from gemheaven.

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

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

NEW! If you have any questions, comments or tips on designing jewelry join our Making Jewelry Design Forum or show us YOUR unique designs in Handcrafted Jewelry Photo Gallery. Everyone is invited to join in, it's free, it's easy and it's fun!

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