Needle Arts Guild of ToledoA member Chapter of the Great Lakes Region
of The Embroiderers' Guild of America, Inc..
Evaluating Your Embroidery - Color & Design
The following article was written by Cathy Studer in 2004 for the newsletter
of the Needle Arts Guild of Toledo.
"The most important element in successful work is the choice of design". -- May Morris, 1893
The first step in any embroidered project is choosing a design. A basic understanding of the elements and principles of design can help in the process of choosing a design that is pleasing to the eye. What are the elements and principles of design? Elements are the tools used to create a design. Principles are guidelines for deciding how these tools will be used to create the design.
Elements of Design include:
Principles of Design include:
With these elements and principles in mind let us look at the design we have chosen to embroider and ask ourselves a few questions. What is it that I feel when I first look at the design? What kind of impact does it have on me? Am I excited? Calmed? Disturbed? What element or principle of the design excites me, or calms me or disturbs me? What is it that I see when I first look at the design? Am I drawn to a particular area? What draws me there? Which elements and principles were used to draw my focus? Is there more than one area of interest? If so, is there a pleasing relationship between the areas or does it create confusion? Is the design overworked or has it been kept simple? Are the colors nicely balanced? Do the colors enhance the design or detract from it? Are attached objects a meaningful part of the design? Is there something I can incorporate to make the design an expression of my individuality?
It is a good idea when choosing any design to ask these questions. It is also very helpful to look for the different elements and principles in any chosen design. Even if you do not design your own embroideries a study of these two subjects greatly enhances your ability to chose designs that are pleasing and worth spending your valuable time stitching. There are many good books on design and color for embroidery. Mary Shipp has written two wonderful books, one on Design for Embroidery and one on Color for Embroidery. Color and Design for Embroidery written by Richard Box is another one of my favorites.
This page was last updated on September 24, 2018.