How The Principles Of Art Help To Create A Better Website Cultural Studies Essay

If you were to ask anybody who is familiar with philosophy the question "What makes a human?" They would most likely refer back to the old Greek thinker Aristotle, and answer "Man is a rational animal" [1] Now what Aristotle actually said was that the separation between man and animal is defined by logon. Interestingly, we can understand logon to mean either reason or language. [2] By knowing this we can say that the separation between a man from an animal is the way in which his life is run by language and communication. One cannot say that animals do not communicate at all or neither can they say they have no form of reason, but it is rare to find an animal (even one that is capable of such work) to paint pictures or write poetry. The need to communicate in visual representation and in speech according to pre-specified set of rules of such communication is mostly human.

Going back to the prehistoric era also known as Palaeolithic era, man had been trying to communicate with images and speech. By doing this they were able to tell stories and communicate important lessons in life. [3] After researching this it would be unfair to assume that graphic communication has just been discovered. Although it has become more and more defined and increasingly technical over the years. There was never been a time before where if one were to be recognised as a good communicative artist one had to hold a degree and have a fast broadband connection.

We have to understand that there are numerous types of communicative arts today, all of which have some form of basic design principles which could include messages and words. Performing arts, painting, advertising, photography, digital media, architecture… The list goes on. Anything that portrays the expression of human creative skill and imagination is art. Our main concern today however is visual arts, to be more precise, graphic design. As we advance and continue to develop this new computer age, we must then appreciate and understand that one of these sciences and arts is Web Design and Development. Today, technology has changed the way art used to b; there are now programs readily available to do in an instant what a normal artist back in the day would take days to do manually. The possibilities are endless, limited only by people and their skill set. The questions we ask ourselves today is how much can we imagine? How far will our knowledge let us go? Unfortunately some artists remain afraid of computerised design and the Internet, they fear that it will strip them of their authenticity and validity of physical or more commonly known as non-digital art. Regrettably computer designers and executives may dismiss traditional art as being unrelated to their work. Web Designers usually will have some sort of technical degree rather than an art degree. However, if the past is taught us anything about communication and how to get ideas across visually, these lessons will be found in the heart of traditional art. That being said we must note that the best website today will be influenced by the principles of art and can even recognised as an art piece itself.

The Principles of Art and Design

All visual arts from photography to paintings have a defined set of elements in common. Along with these elements comes a specific set of principles which act as a guide and their usage and direct the way to an ideal piece of artwork. Graphic design whether in a website or on a printed page can share a relationship to the standard elements and principles. Although the application may vary in some way such as when someone is trying to build an aesthetic bridge and when someone else is trying to spray paint under a bridge, even though the two acts are related they can vary. The best way to understand how to apply the principles of graphic design is to understand how they are normally applied in the original visual arts from.

The elements of art are colour, line, shape, forms, texture, and positive or negative space. [4] These are "parts of an artwork that an artist plans." [5] They provide the choices as to what the subject of the piece will be, what it may look like, and what it will do. Each element is significantly important in creating the mood, the time and the subject of the artwork and each must be appreciated and understood for what it is and what it is not. All the principles of art barely tell the artists how best to use the elements but without an understanding of these elements the artist would be lost.

Colour is a very important element for many people. It will also be worth mentioning that colour is not just referring to what hues are in the painting (for example red, purple or green) and can be used even monochromatic works. When we talk about colour in the sense it has three distinctive properties that should be considered. The first one is the hue - the essence or name of the colour. You would normally find hues on a traditional colour wheel. There are three primary colours: red, yellow and blue, although the colours are just combinations of these. Colours which are considered complementary to each other contrast each other because they share no common colours. For example red and green compliments because green is made out of yellow and blue. An artist can often use complementary colours to create excitement, when some colours are placed next to each other there can be certain energy between them because of how opposite they are. Tertiary and lower generation colours are made by mixing primary and secondary colours together, or other non-primary colours. There is also different type of traditional colour schemes which have been discovered to work well together, this involved carefully picking colours by a set distance from each other on a colour wheel. Some colours that have a higher concentration of red and yellow are considered to be warm while other colours with a higher concentration of blue are considered to be cool. Specific warmth’s of colour and also defined colours in general can initiate changes in attitude and can be important in creating a response to someone’s work, where they can be an emotional connection or a desire to purchase a product. In Colour Psychology it was quoted that "Artists and interior designers have long understood how colour can dramatically affect moods, feelings and emotions. It is a powerful communication tool and can be used to signal action, influence mood, and cause physiological reactions. Certain colours can raise blood pressure, increase metabolism, or cause eyestrain. Other colours in contrast can create depth and empathy" [6] 

Intensity is another element of colour which is "Purity and strength, brightness or dullness of a colour" [7] You can decrease intensity by mixing the colour with a bit of its own complement. The third element of colour is the amount of light or dark which goes into colour. By adding either white or black to the colour, you can make it a lighter or a darker value. In Monochromatic or Greyscale artworks the value of intensity is only used. If there was no element of colour there would be no visible art.

Other elements can be annotated over more briefly and are not quite as difficult in their description. Lines for example are just one-dimensional marks. There are many types of lines: straight, curved, zigzag, dashed or irregular. Lines can bring attention to themselves and to the elements that they mark. They can also be used to direct attention from and to other elements. They can also be used to create other elements such as shapes. "Wherever the ends of a continuous line meet, a shape is formed. Geometric shapes such as circles, triangles or squares have perfect, uniform measurements and don't often appear in nature. Organic shapes are associated with things from the natural world, like plants and animals." [8] Lines and shapes can be used to create responses. Some shapes such as circles tend to have a peaceful and attractive feel. Jagged lines instead can appear edgy or even intimidating. There is science to shapes as to the degree to which they can entice human awareness. Take for example the so-called golden rectangle, this is understood to be one of the most perfect yet attractive of squares and from it comes a spiral form that is seen throughout nature such as in nautilus shells. [9] Using a shape built on specified ratios in designs, even if only as the basis for the canvas, is graphically pleasing.

Some additional elements may or may not use lines as the foundation like texture for example. It can be simulated with lines but also it is not only simulated by lines. Texture is the way something feels when you touch it... also can be the illusion of texture in artworks such as paintings. A handmade sculpture would have real texture as will some paintings (such as those done by Van Gough); A computer line or graphic drawing could also have a simulated texture (created by lines most of the time or colour variations). Forms can be created by line. Forms are three-dimensional shapes or the illusion of a three-dimensional shape. Involving definite lines is dependent on the media as with texture, although they are often used.

Space is the last element of design and it is almost a non-element. "Space is the area provided for a particular purpose. Space includes the background, foreground and middle ground. Space refers to the distances or areas around, between or within things. There are two types of space: positive and negative space. Positive space refers to the space of a shape representing the subject matter. Negative space refers to the space around and between the subject matter. Space is also defined as the distance between identifiable points or planes in a work of art." [10] Positive space can normally be lighter in colour when shown two-dimensionally or it can be empty air space when created in architecture or sculptures. Negative space instead is space that is filled either with the darker colour or with a solid part of the design which describes the design by surrounding it. For example, a drawing of a black outline on a blank white page would be an example of the positive use of space, while a page that had been occupied with black ink excluding the area around a white outline would be negative

The sixth element which is not generally mentioned in art books but in this day and age is becoming increasingly appropriate (even in some old school style - traditional arts) is language. Words nowadays are finding much of their way into modern Art. Words are normally made up of lines or shapes or even both, but they have an additional meaning to them. A modern artist that creates a collage by using pieces of large print newspaper into their work is not only playing with the shape of the peace plus its colour and texture but also with its verbal content. However, this element like the three-dimensional form does not always exist in art.

Every art piece today contains these basic elements - There is no doubt about that. What can make a piece unique is the way in which these elements are used. What makes a piece good? The degree in which the principles of art are followed by the use of these elements.

"The principles of art help artists plan their art and think about how other people will react to the artwork. The principles are balance, contrast, proportion, pattern, rhythm, emphasis, unity, and variety."

Interesting enough these basic principles are useful in every artistic attempt even some of those which are not visual. Emphasis, contrasts, pattern and all the others may also be found in literature and music for they are all connected to the human Centre or creative pleasure.

The Technological Factor

The People

Combination Complete