Elements of Design

The element of design SHAPE used in your jewelry compositions can help you create stunning pieces.

The shape of your design or the beads and components used within your design creates significant visual impact. This element of design is often what people first notice when they see a piece of jewelry.

Shapes add interest and when there are a variety of shapes within a piece your mind subconsciously thinks and analyzes the whole composition comparing the differences. If all the beads are the same shape and size there is no contrast and therefore your piece may lack interest.

In design shape suggest character and setting and can be simple or complex.

Shapes can be concrete and easily recognizable or distorted to express abstract ideas.

There are two types of shape: organic and geometric.

    Organic shapes are irregular and curvy. They symbolize natural objects, such as in nature. Organic shapes convey spontaneity, sincerity, and unpredictability they are fluid, free and natural.

    Geometric shapes are triangles, circles, rectangles, and squares. Geometric shapes are complex, stable, and rigid.

The beauty of designing with beads and findings is that they come in all shapes and sizes. Besides the traditional geometric and natural organic shapes, you will find figural, animal, insect, fowl, floral, celestial, symbolic, whimsical, etc. These beads not only help to add interest in your piece, but they also help to add meaning and/or tell the story about your designs.

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.

"Tribal Dance Bracelet"
by Connie Fox
This simple yet captivating bracelet is a creative example of using organic shapes in a piece to set a theme. The two organic shaped metal components contrast well with the primitive designs on the smaller round beads. This is an excellent example of an asymmetrical design, the spiral dangle counterbalances the large metal tribal dancers giving this bracelet visual balance and interest.

The shape and design on this pendant along with the zebra stripped beads gives this necklace an African tribal feel.
Design by
Carmen Bermel.

    Natural design, color, and the rhythm of time from long ago have invoked the ageless exploration of mother earth.The organic shaped donut as a focal feature is an ideal starting point of an earth tone necklace. The colors in the focal piece are echoed in the various organic shaped beads throughout the necklace. The asymmetrical design adds visual interest making this piece totally earthy and organic.
    Design by Sarah Brueck Stallings.

This gorgeous "Passion Cuff Bracelet" by Judy Shelton is an amazing collection of organic shapes wired to a hammered sterling silver wire cuff form. Some of the luxurious stones used in this stunning piece include pink tourmaline, lemon topaz, london blue topaz, swiss blue topaz, prasolite (green amethyst), rose quartz, pink topaz, whiskey quartz, amethyst, labradorite, champagne quartz, iolite, chalcedony, rock crystal quartz, rubies, peridot, aquamarine, and druzy.

If jewelry designer DeeAnn vonHunke had used all the same shaped beads in this chunky necklace it wouldn't have the same impact. Although some of the beads are almost geometric in shape it still has an earthy organic feel; not only because of the earth color pallet but also because of the variety of shaped accent beads in contrasting sizes adding interest and texture.

"Luminous Snowfall Bracelet"
by Jess Italia.
The filigree diamond shaped component not only adds texture but compliments well with the turquoise colors in the enamel focal bead. The natural brass circles and toggle adds interest to this design. You can find these great brass components and lots more at Vintaj Natural Brass Co. "Inspiration in every finding." Exclusively wholesale Jewelry Findings. To purchase retail see www.galenabeads.com

Examples of how you can add interest to a simple strung bracelet using various shaped beads.

The different shaped beads add interest to this goddess illusion style necklace. The balance is symmetrical (where both sides mirror each other) and a monochromatic color scheme accented with silver for a visually pleasing design.

Here is another example of using various shapes to add interest to a piece of jewelry. This bracelet is called "Spring", so not only does the fresh green colors make you think of spring but also the shaped beads of leaves, flowers, butterflies, and a hummingbird are symbolic of nature in the spring.

The necklace and bracelet above by Wendy Seaward are excellent examples of creating shapes in your design with the use of beads.

Elements of Design SHAPE.

Related Articles:

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

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

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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Return to Why Is Composition and Design So Important When Making Jewelry?
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