DESIGN ELEMENTS:  point line shape form tone texture colour letterform     FOR TEACHERS

DESIGN PRINCIPLES:  figure-ground balance contrast cropping hierarchy scale proportion pattern
INDEX   Members only

TEXTURE ranges from the smoothest polished mirror
to the roughest mountain range as seen from an
airplane. The term is often misused to refer only to
rough surfaces but this is not correct. All surfaces
have texture.

A designer recognizes that different textures can affect interest
in different ways. Some surfaces are inviting and some are
repellent and so are the textures that suggest those surfaces.
Using different textures can increase interest in a composition
by adding variety without changing color or tone/value

While texture can make an image more interesting it is not a
strong enough element to be useful for organizing a
composition. Tone/value and color contrasts are more efficient
at that.

Visual texture appears to the eye to be a surface variation but it
is in reality flat. If you run your hand over the object you will not
encounter the variations found in tactile textures. The surface
changes in light and dark are the result of value or hue changes
and not a change in planes.

Pattern is the repeition of elements or motifs in an organized
The pattern is created through surface design variations and the
repetition of a single or multiple motifs. Patterns can be regular
or irregular. A brick wall made of identical bricks will create a
regular pattern. A plaid fabric can be either regular with the lines
of color repeating in mirror sequences or an irregular plaid with
an uneven series of repetitions. Some patterns can mimic
'Pattern' map of Africa
Saved as 'patternmap1.gif'

A choropleth map uses colors or shading to show differences
between areas.
Areas that share a quality are colored or shaded alike.  A very
simple choropleth map of the United States could be made
using a single color or shading pattern to show those states that
have state sales taxes, state income taxes, and both sales and
income taxes, leaving blank those states that have neither
sales taxes nor income taxes.

Choropleth maps can be used to show differences in quantity
also.  If you wanted to show the percent of people graduating
from high school on a world map, you could use ten colors to
represent 0 to 10%, 11 to 20%, 21 to 30%, and so on.
To see an example go to


Hint: When dealing with texture, remember that heavily
textured items will have slow gradual changes in value unless
the plane ends abruptly. In contrast reflective surfaces will have
sudden changes in value, from one extreme to another, with
only slight changes in the direction of the planes