Seven Fundamentals of Good Design

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Texture is the surface quality of a material. Texture has great potential to connect the observer emotionally to the work, inviting the person to touch and explore it. On a chair, for example, the texture of fabric can tempt persons to sit in it or immediately reject it. Smooth surfaces reflect light and can appear shiny making a piece feel light. Heavily textured surfaces absorb light. When considering texture, look at it from all angles and under different light conditions to see the full impact of its surface. To help determine scale with texture, the guidelines under pattern and proportion can also be followed.


Obvious Repetition – There is no question that pattern is the main attraction on Laël Gordon’s sideboard. By using a motif size that complements the cabinet’s size, the full effect of the motif is appreciated without feeling busy. (Photo by Allen King)


Simple Squares – Ian Crosby adds a subtle visual interest to an otherwise plain piece of maple by inlaying a pattern of squares (frieze). Crosby played with the prismatic of the wood and rotated the squares to create the illusion of using a light and dark wood.

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