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There are two sets of core terminology to describe artwork: the elements and the principles of design.  The elements, as the name suggests, are the components that are used to create.  The pieces that make up the whole.  The principles describe how the elements have been applied.  The arrangement of the components.

In this image a cave of woven bands and turquoise hands lies by the sea. The interwoven bands are earth and sea coloured.
Hand Cave
Watercolour Pencils
The Elements of Design
The Principles of Design


Different sources list
slightly different principles of design.  Some suggest rhythm and pattern are separate principles from repetition, others combine them with movement.  Some do not include unity or another one of the principles listed on the this page.  

Unity is listed on this website as "and sometimes unity" because, in my opinion, it is a little different then the other principles.  Each of the other principles are a comparison of one part to another part within an artwork.  Unity is looking at all the parts combined into a whole.  As the principles are created by how the elements are applied, I would argue that the unity of a piece is created by how the principles have been applied.

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