What is Design?

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorCollege, Undergraduate February 2008

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From an artist's standpoint design is the process of organizing all of the diverse aspects of a piece of art. For example: line, space, light, color, and texture. There are many different principles of design involved with artwork. These principles include balance, emphasis, scale and proportion, repetition and rhythm, as well as, unity and variety. Generally, a painting or piece of art will contain a majority of these principles. One such piece is that of Johannes Vermeer's titled, "Woman Holding a Balance." First, Vermeer is able to exhibit two different types of balance in this piece. At first glimpse, one can see the asymmetric balance present in the painting. This is entirely due to the fact that the right side of the painting has light falling onto a woman, and the left side of the painting is very dark. Even though the woman's figure is much larger than any item on the dark side of the painting the light makes her appear to weigh the same as the combined mass of the smaller items.

Upon a longer gaze, one can see the scales that the woman is holding are perfectly balanced. Through this object Vermeer creates bilateral symmetry through the design principle of symmetrical balance. Neither side of the scale is the same size, but the overall effect is symmetric due to their balance.

Next, Vermeer creates an emphasis or focal point in the painting through illumination. Everything in the picture besides the woman is dark, yet she wears what appears to be a coat bordered in thick, bright white edges. The light upon her face and mid-section make her the obvious focal point of this piece. However, as soon as your eyes are directed towards her they seem to follow the implied line of her stare towards...